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World Cup: Belgium are through to the semis after beating Brazil 2-1

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World Cup: Belgium are through to the semis after beating Brazil 2-1

World Cup: Belgium are through to the semis after beating Brazil 2-1
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Belgium are through to the World Cup semi-finals after an own goal and a rocket from Kevin De Bruyne saw them defeat Brazil 2-1.

Brazil saw more of the ball throughout the game but Belgium looked dangerous on the counter attack. The opening Belgian goal came from a corner, however. The ball was whipped in and it came off Fernandinho's shoulder and into his own net. The Belgian counter-attacking threat came good as Romelu Lukaku held the ball up then drove it into the Brazil half. He played the ball to Kevin De Bruyne who fired a rocket into the far corner.

Brazil improved in the second half and had a couple of penalty shouts. The first looked like an obvious dive from Neymar but the second was a much closer decision. The Video Assistant Referee looked at it but decided there was not a penalty when Vincent Kompany challenged Gabriel Jesus.

Brazil did manage to pull a goal back when Renato Augusto headed home but the late drama came from Neymar: he curled the ball towards the top corner but Thibaut Courtois was there to tip the ball over the bar.

Belgium will now face France in the semi-final.

5 Key takeaways from the match

De Bruyne's goal

Kevin De Bruyne has had an excellent season at Manchester City, but he has been frustrated at times in this World Cup when he's played in a deeper position. Today, however, he was played further forwards and this freed him up to attack. His performance was epitomised by his goal. Lukaku led the counter attack and played the ball into De Bruyne, who fired a rocket into the far corner. It was a goal worthy of winning any game, and in this case it won a World Cup quarter-final.

Belgium's attacking threat

Belgium showed their counter-attacking threat but the quality of their attacking players was easy to see. Belgium's pace hurt Brazil, and going forward, teams will need to be especially careful not to give space to the likes of Hazard and De Bruyne. There may have only been two goals, but Belgium could have had a couple more if the final pass had been more crisp, and heading into their semi-final with France, Belgium will know that they can score goals against anyone.

Neymar's 'dive'

Neymar is developing a real reputation for going down easily. His reaction to contact is often seen as over the top and today won't have helped that. When he burst into the box and went down, the referee waved his hand, almost with an air of disgust, and replays showed why. There was no contact before the PSG man began to fall, and on the way down he tried to kick Marouane Fellaini to create contact. It was a dive, plain and simple, and it's frustrating, because such a talented player shouldn't need to use such tactics at all.

Courtois' save

When Neymar bent the ball towards the top corner in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the game, many thought it was destined for the back of the net. But Thibaut Courtois had different ideas. He leapt across the goal and tipped the ball over the bar, essentially winning the game for Belgium who were hanging on against Brazil. In every tournament, a good goalkeeper is essential to winning, and the World Cup is no different. Belgium certainly have a goalkeeper capable of winning them a game.

The first semi-final

Belgium will take on France in what looks to be another fascinating game. Both sides have special attacking players, and if they both play to their ability then we are truly in for a treat.