Brazil seek to temper World Cup hopes of Belgiums Golden Generation

Belgium reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 32 years, holding off five-time champion Brazil 2-1 Friday (Saturday NZT) in one of the country's greatest football feats.

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

But Tite's men, who badly missed the suspended Casemiro, were soundly beaten by third-ranked Belgium thanks to a pair of goals before the break at the Kazan Arena, despite the Selecao mounting a second-half fightback.

Renato Augusto's headed goal was not enough to held Brazil avoid a 2-1 defeat to Belgium in a World Cup quarter-final to set up a last-four tie with France.

The coach highlighted a number of reasons Belgium should fear his team - their speed on the counter-attack, ability to produce magic as well as a miserly defence that has conceded just a single goal in Russian Federation.

This was no repeat of Belo Horizonte four years ago, when Brazil were thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals on home soil, and Tite's side kept their shape and composure.

And Augusto could have levelled moments later, instead dragging his 20-yard shot just wide as Brazil piled the pressure on Belgium in the last 10 minutes.

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That set up the game nicely for a manic finish in which a clearly rattled Belgium failed to regain their attacking momentum.

Brazil right back Danilo is out of the World Cup after injuring his ankle in training. Fellaini had a phenomenal outing against Brazilian star Neymar, and Chadli also did his defensive duties, where Carrasco has struggled in the past. We had to be fearless tactically and to do that in a World Cup, the players have to believe.

Romelo Lukaku leads Belgium with four goals so far in the tournament.

If the Red Devils are to overcome a steadily improving Brazil team, with Neymar an ever-more influential figure, they will have to up their game.

Both sides met in the round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup, when Brazil beat the Europeans 2-0 on their way to their last World Cup title.

"There has been so much debate about Neymar simulating fouls or wasting time on the floor, but I think that in a competition like this - with VAR - we shouldn't be paying too much attention to this", Betfair ambassador and 2002 World Cup victor, Rivaldo said. In the second half they adapted their system.

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