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08 July 2018, 11:13 | Anna Jefferson
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Belgium struck early and held off a late Brazil fightback to send the five-times champions tumbling out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory in an end-to-end thriller on Friday (Jul 7) that earned them a semi-final against France.
A Fernandinho own goal and a brilliant Kevin De Bruyne strike gave Belgium a spot in the last four for the second time after 1986 and sees Brazil eliminated in the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four World Cups.
Come Friday, Willian has nonetheless made it clear that their friendship will take on minimal significance as the 29-year-old eyes another eye-catching performance to propel Brazil to the semi-finals in Russian Federation.
Belgium are headed to a World Cup semifinal for the first time since 1986 after knocking off Brazil, a side which hadn't lost a game - competitive or otherwise - in almost 13 months, in Friday's thrilling quarterfinal clash in Nizhny Novgorod.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a number of fine saves and needed every inch of his nearly-two metre frame to deny Brazil's talisman Neymar with a glove in the dying minutes. The Red Devils will now face France in the semi-finals on July 10, Tuesday.
"I won't say goodbye, but I also won't confirm that I'll be there for the next World Cup".
That is the most by any player in a World Cup since 1966 and illustrates just how incisive he was against Tite's team. "When you play you have to get a tactical advantage".
First stop is Manchester City, one of the most impressive sides of last season and the current home to no fewer than six of the players who will lock horns in Kazan on Friday.
Belgium took the lead in the 13thminute after a Belgium corner from Nacer Chadli was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany with a flick, then diverted into the back of the net by Fernandinho's shoulder.
And the Paris Saint-Germain forward, who started the tournament in Russian Federation short of 100 per cent fitness, has opened up on the disappointment of Brazil's defeat with he and his compatriots having been viewed as the favourites to win it several weeks ago.
"I think I'm the proudest man on earth at the moment", said Belgium's Spanish coach Roberto Martinez. He can, therefore, expect to come up against not only Hazard but also Thibaut Courtois who will nearly certainly man the posts for Belgium.
Augusto gave Brazil a lifeline in the 75th minute with a headed goal barely three minutes after coming on. Though there is not much the right-back does not know about the Brazilian ace, having marvelled at his technique at Paris Saint-Germain, he is less than sure about how to blunt the threat he poses.
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Robin Haase, Netherlands, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. "I was thinking about every single point when I was serving for the match", Kerber said. Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, who lost to Kvitova in the 2014 Wimbledon final, lost to 17th-seeded Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 7-5.
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The rest of the top 10 was completed by Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon. Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes on pole position for the British Grand Prix with a scintillating final lap.
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At 1-1, Fernandes missed his shot - only the second player to miss in any of the four shootouts at this year's World Cup. Croatia are also just the second team to advance through two back-to-back World Cup knockout games after trailing.
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He added that he did not see consistency in Croatia's game as they "looked good for three games but played worse against Denmark". That Croatia side hammered Germany 3-0 to reach the semis in France, and Dalic is looking for a similar result on Saturday.