7/7/2018 12:23:28 AM (GMT+3)

Brazil pack off bags as Belgium advance into semis with 2-1 win

Brazil pack off bags as Belgium advance into semis with 2-1 win

MOSCOW: Frustration was writ large on Neymar’s face after his curling shot was parried away for a corner by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

That summed up everything as five-time champions packed off their bags from Russia with a 2-1 defeat at the quarterfinal at Kazan Arena on Friday night.

For their fans across the world, it was a disappointment. But for the pundits, the Selecao were themselves to be blamed.

Belgium took an early lead through a Fernandinho own-goal in the 13th minute while De Bruyne added the second in the 31st as the Europeans  took the match away from the Latin Americans.

There were some late sparks, but Brazil attackers failed to convert some of the chances they had created as they looked for an elusive equaliser.

“Brazil are the best team and without a doubt the biggest threat from open play. We had to defend well for 90 minutes. But I felt our performance merited the opportunity to go through,” said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

With Brazil and Uruguay bidding farewell, it’s going to be an all-European semifinal line-up after 2006 when Italy, France, Germany and Portugal qualified.

“When you play Brazil, I think you need to get a tactical advantage and there’s a psychological barrier. We had to be brave tactically. It was a big gamble to change things and we needed the players to believe. And today is not really about the tactics. It was about the execution of those tactics,” added  Martinez.