Belgium has advanced to the World Cup semi-final as Brazil’s hopes of winning a sixth title were ended by a 2-1 defeat.
Brazil, ranked second in the world by FIFA, were the last remaining non-European team in the tournament after Les Bleus knocked out Uruguay in Friday’s first quarter-final. Tite’s men, who badly missed the suspended Casemiro, were soundly beaten by third-ranked Belgium thanks to a pair of goals before the break at the Kazan Arena, despite the Selecao mounting a second-half fightback.
Fernandinho turned a corner into his own net to put Belgium in front, with a superb counter-attack extending their advantage.
Romelu Lukaku’s skill and strength carried the Red Devils deep into Brazil territory and Kevin De Bruyne lashed home a brilliant 20-yard rocket from the striker’s pass.
Brazil could find no answer until a 76th-minute headed reply from Renato Augusto, with star man Neymar virtually anonymous other than three poor attempts to win a penalty, although Referee Milorad Mazic perhaps should have pointed to the spot when Vincent Kompany dived in on Gabriel Jesus.
Neymar did finally come to life in injury time, forcing a brilliant save from Thibaut Courtois with a curling shot from outside the area, but it was not enough to sustain his team’s challenge.
Courtois made comfortable saves from Philippe Coutinho and Willian as Brazil, playing in the quarter-finals for the seventh straight World Cup, rallied.
Belgium held on and Roberto Martinez will lead his side into a World Cup semi-final against France on Tuesday.