Friday July 6 2018
Belgium set up France semi

Belgium set up a World Cup semi-final with France after a hard-fought 2-1 win against Brazil on Friday.

Juventus’ Douglas Costa was again a substitute for Brazil against Belgium, who dropped Dries Mertens after the Napoli attacker pulled up during his country’s 3-2 victory over Japan in the last 16.

The Red Devils blew away the five-time world champions inside the opening 31 minutes as Fernandinho was forced into a header a corner into his own net, before Kevin de Bruyne blasted a daisy-cutter into Allisson’s bottom-left corner.

Brazil threw on Costa in the second half as they pushed to cut Belgium’s deficit, but the VAR prevented them from two penalties.

The first saw Vincent Kompany clearly take out Gabriel Jesus after he nutmegged Jan Vertonghen near the byline, yet the video assistant disagreed, while Thomas Meunier’s brush on the back of Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar was correctly ignored.

Brazil did pull one back through substitute Renato Augusto, who nodded in a corner, but Coutinho slashed well wide from a Neymar tee-up and Thibaut Courtois expertly tipped over a last-gasp curler from the No 10.

Belgium will now play France in the last four, which does not include any of Brazil, Germany or Les Bleus for the first time ever at a World Cup.

Brazil 1-2 Belgium

Renato Augusto 76 (BR) Fernandinho og 13, De Bruyne 21 (BE)

Brazil: Alisson; Fagner, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Paulinho (Renato Augusto 46), Fernandinho, Coutinho; Willian (Firmino 46), Gabriel Jesus (Douglas Costa 58), Neymar 

Belgium: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Fellaini, Witsel, Chadli (Vermaelen 83); Lukaku (Tielemans 87), De Bruyne, Hazard 

Referee: Mazic (SRB) 

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