Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Gupta: Eden Hazard outshines Neymar in battle of No. 10s

Gupta: Eden Hazard outshines Neymar in battle of No. 10s

Five-time FIFA World Cup winners Brazil were locked into a fierce 90-minute battle with Roberto Martinez's Belgium in a quarter-final match and after much effort laced with blood, sweat and tears; the Selecao were eliminated from the football extravaganza in Russian Federation.

If Belgium's first goal in the 13th minute had an element of luck, with the ball going into the net off Fernandinho's shoulder from a corner, the second in the 31st minute was a percfect example of counter-attacking football.

"Brazil adapted better in the second half". While Kompany headed a corner kick on, it deflected into Brazil's net off Fernandinho's shoulder for an own-goal.

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium celebrates after the Fifa World Cup 2018 quarter final soccer match between Brazil and Belgium in Kazan on Friday.

Roberto Martinez was left bursting with pride after praising his Belgium players for executing his tactical plan in their World Cup semi-final win over Brazil.

Belgium struck early and held off a late Brazil fightback to send the five-times champions tumbling out in an end-to-end thriller that earned a semi-final with France.

Such a record is nothing new for Brazil, with their defence having always been one of their keys to success at World Cups.

With those three teams - three of the game's big powers, and three popular picks to win the World Cup before the start of the tournament - out, the road to World Cup glory and soccer immortality feels wide open for the remaining teams. Like their compatriots, the players who make up the Red Devils squad at Russian Federation 2018 also like to get around.

"I didn't think for one minute they were going to give up".

Five-time world champion Brazil came into Friday's quarterfinal match at Russian Federation 2018 as the clear favorite to beat the Red Devils and reach next week's semifinal versus France, which had dispatched Uruguay hours earlier.

Lukaku looked invincible as he powered through Brazil's midfield before finding De Bruyne in space on the right.

Fernandinho of Brazil is challenged by Nacer Chadli of Belgium during the World Cup quarterfinal. "But it is a dream match for our players - they were born to play in a match like this".

"I gave the players a very hard tactical plan", the former Wigan and Everton manager said. If they hid from San Antonio, one of the most respected organizations in sports, it could raise concerns for other teams about what could happen to them. Still, Belgium weren't home and dry, and Courtois had to make a brilliant diving save from a curling effort from Neymar.

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