Belgium continued its impressive run at the 2018 World Cup after collecting a 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarterfinals at Kazan on Friday.
An own goal by Fernandinho and a flawlessly finish from Kevin De Bruyne gave Belgium a 2-0 lead over Brazil at halftime and the European side held on to knock out another South American nation at the World Cup.
Belgium took the lead in the 13th minute after a corner from Nacer Chadli was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany, whose flick hit the shoulder of Fernandinho and out of the reach of keeper Alisson.
De Bruyne made it 2-0 for Belgium when he linked up with Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku on a swift counterattack and finished off the move with a superb strike from the edge of the area in the 31st minute.
Substitute Renato Augusto pulled a goal back for Brazil in the 76th minute, but the five-time champions were unable to beat Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois a second time.
Neymar and Co. had several opportunities to score, with veteran centre-back Thiago Silva hitting the post early, while Augusto missed a glorious chance in the second half.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez praised his team after the game and said his players executed the game place perfectly.
“Sometimes you have to accept that Brazil has got this finesse, that quality, and that they’re going to break you down, and (Belgium) just refused to accept that,” Martinez said.
“The execution was perfect. These boys deserve to be something special back home in Belgium.”
The victory on Friday sees Belgium advancing to a World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1986, and will next face 1998 World Cup champion France in St. Petersburg.
The last two other spots will be decided in Saturday’s quarterfinals, which will see host nation Russia taking on Croatia and England battling against Sweden.