Playing ‘favourites’ Brazil a dream for Belgium, says Roberto Martinez

Playing ‘favourites’ Brazil a dream for Belgium, says Roberto Martinez

A courageous Belgium showcased their attacking brilliance then survived a spirited Brazilian fightback to claim a 2-1 win over the tournament favourites at Kazan Arena and reach the last four for the first time in 32 years.

Brazil sailed past Mexico to reach the quarterfinals, while Belgium fended off Japan with a winning goal in added time, becoming the first team to win a World Cup knockout round match after trailing by at least two goals since 1970.

Bidding for a record-extending sixth World Cup in Russia, Brazil were one of five sides to qualify for the last eight without requiring extra-time and penalties, after outclassing Mexico 2-0 in Samara.

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, center, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium. In the past 25 matches under head coach Tite, Brazil have conceded only six goals and kept 19 clean sheets.

Brazil were nearly caught out as they pushed forward but Eden Hazard fired wide after another quick counter-attack. At least one Spaniard is enjoying this World Cup.

"Just treasure it and pass it down in the generations", Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said, still seemingly in awe of what his team achieved at the Kazan Arena.

"Brazil know how to win World Cups, they've done it more than any other country so they've got that psychological barrier out of the way".

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"In the World Cup you want to be flawless, but it's about getting through, it's about winning", Martinez said after the match.

Trailing for the first time in the World Cup, a focused Seleção came out in the second looking determined to get on the scoreboard.

After a blip against Switzerland, Brazil have picked up 3 wins from their last three game and are a team on the ascendancy with Coutinho and Neymar leading the charge.

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

Belgium saw off the challenge of Brazil with a mature performance and a superb showing from Kevin De Bruyne in particular.

Tite said his team's opponents were simply more effective, while praising Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

If Henry's influence on Lukaku's game was exemplified by that movement he displayed in the goal against Japan, Drogba will be the ideal man to teach the Belgian how to best pick his moment - to conserve energy and anticipate when and where the ball will fall in the box. Brazil was offensively stronger, but in the end we all did it. This team were questioned for their mentality and character coming into this tournament - they disappointed at the Euros two years ago. Idon't think they will make the same errors and I expect a more cautious approach with the underdogs playing on the counter attack. In two days they (Belgium's players) changed their tactical disposition.

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