Belgium coach Martinez "proudest man on earth" after toppling Brazil

Belgium coach Martinez

Belgium coach Martinez "proudest man on earth" after toppling Brazil

Belgium beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia Friday, knocking out one of the favorites to win the tournament.

Although Brazil tried to show some mettle in the second half, Renato Augusto got the ball in the net in the 76th minute, leaving Brazil with no time to turn the game around.

Brazil's forward Neymar reacts at the end of the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Brazil and Belgium at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on July 6, 2018.

Tite had replaced suspended holding midfielder Casemiro with Fernandinho in his starting line-up, handing the Manchester City player his first World Cup start since he was hauled off at half-time on Brazil's way to the humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany in 2014.

Brazil's usually impregnable defence, which had conceded only six goals in 25 matches under coach Tite, suddenly looked very vulnerable and was repeatedly sliced apart in the opening half hour.

The game began with Belgium on the front foot - the likes of Nacer Chadli, Lukaku, Eden Hazard and De Bryune combined to put pressure on Brazil's backline, thus leaving the impression that Brazil will be unable to keep up with Martinez' side during the entire tie.

"In that case Neymar is a big exponent of that, a technical footballer who's decisive in one-on-ones".

Brazil were more convincing in their 2-0 win over Mexico in the previous round than Belgium were in overcoming an underrated Japan.

Following Friday's action, the focus will then be firmly trained on England's World Cup quarter-final with Sweden on Saturday - the Three Lions' first appearance in the last eight since 2006.

Neymar ran at the Belgium defence until the end but had a second penalty appeal waved away by Serbian referee Milorad Mazic and a final shot tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as the last few seconds ticked away.

"We know what we have to do", he told reporters at Brazil's base in Sochi.

Brazil left back Marcelo left an avenue as he went on forays upfield, and there were several attacks when Belgium had a player completely free on the right as they broke forward.

The South Americans battled but their talented generation of players, including the defensive rock Diego Godin, look like ending their worldwide careers without the World Cup success they have threatened to deliver.

Dropping deep, De Bruyne was at the heart of a series of Belgian counterattacks, scored the second goal and was named man of the match, an indication of the success of Martínez's plan. But, Belgium's physical defense combined with highlight reel saves from keeper Courtois turned Brazil back time and again.

"We are here to try and win the World Cup and are very united".

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