Kevin De Bruyne hails Belgium's defence for sparking win over Brazil

ALMOST Raheem Sterling runs back after getting a chance on goal

World Cup QF: Both Brazil, Belgium battling bad vibes

Neymar won his race to be fit in time to make Tite's final squad for Russian Federation after suffering a fractured metatarsal while playing for French champions Paris Saint-Germain in February, and he has scored two of Brazil's seven goals at the tournament so far.

It's the latest surprise in a tournament full of upsets, which has included Spain's shocking loss to Russian Federation in the knockout rounds and, even more surprisingly, Germany crashing out of the group stage.

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

"Second half it was very hard, they had a lot of players in the middle". Or maybe this is year that England finally, finally, wins another major worldwide tournament.

While Belgium's golden generation is finally flourishing, Neymar is leading Brazil home after failing to live up to the expectations that come with being soccer's most expensive player. And then there's this.

Brazil responded after the break and pulled one back through substitute Renato Augusto 14 minutes from time but Belgium withstood considerable pressure to hold on, although they were perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty.

"Now we face an extraordinary team in France, but any time you reach the semi-finals of a World Cup, you know you're not going to face weak opposition", he said. The victor of England vs. Sweden will then meet either Croatia or Russian Federation.

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The coach said having Thierry Henry, who was in France's 1998 World Cup-winning squad, among his backroom staff has helped bridge that gap.

Tonight in Kazan they dispatched of the joint pre-tournament favourites in Brazil, who - along with Germany - were many people's pick to go all the way and lift the trophy on July 15.

"Now we need more energy for the next game, " Martinez said, "so let's make sure that we're all together and we're all driving each other to be as good as we the semifinal".

Belgium's frontline of Romelu Lukaku, De Bruyne and Eden Harzard posed a constant threat to the Brazilian backline.

The South American five-time champions came to Russian Federation seeking to erase the pain of a 7-1 defeat against Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup on home soil. Thibaut Courtois palmed away a goal-bound Gabriel Jesus header on 36 minutes before stopping a curling Philippe Coutinho shot that was headed for the back of the net.

At the 12-minute mark, Belgium would draw first blood on their first set piece.

Belgium is now on a 24-match unbeaten streak.

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