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Coutinho ready for backlash after Brazil exit

08 July, 2018, 23:12 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • Belgium celebrate against Japan

Fernandinho's own goal and a sumptuous Kevin De Bruyne strike saw the Red Devils into the last four to face France despite Renato Augusto's effort halving the deficit for Brazil with 14 minutes to go. "Scoring against Brazil is not the best moment of my career".

The devastating denouement to Brazil's last World Cup campaign will not be forgotten in a hurry, not least because the Selecao's dream of a triumph on home turf remains unfulfilled.

But as Belgian legs exhausted, Brazil spurned several great chances to push the match into extra-time, Augusto drilling inches wide and Coutinho skewing his effort off target from Neymar's pass.

Belgium and France go head-to-head in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday for a place in the final.

It was a real coming-of-age performance on the worldwide scene for Hazard and he also wrote himself into World Cup folklore in the process.

'We had to be courageous tactically and to do that in a World Cup, the players have to believe.

"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".

"I didn't think for one minute they were going to give up".

The five-time champions came to Russian Federation desperate to make amends for their stunning 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany in Belo Horizonte in 2014.

Lukaku made Gabriel Jesus look average, De Bruyne was just outrageously good and Hazard outperformed Neymar in every aspect.

To do that in any game is impressive, but against the mighty Brazil in a quarter-final is just ridiculous. Another possible spot kick was waved away despite replays that showed Neymar getting his eye raked while chasing a header in stoppage time.

'I helped Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne and explained to them how they should stand and what to do, explaining once was enough, we did the job perfectly, we won deservedly.

For Brazil, meanwhile, this loss will really sting, given they probably deserved to win the match on balance, edging out Belgium in terms of possession and the number of shots on target, with nine to Belgium's three, according to FIFA's match statistics. It could it be that Brazil was the side more afraid of failure ahead of the matchup, the weight of history and expectation theirs to carry always. The Barça man's brilliant pass over the top of the Belgian defence was headed past Courtois by his teammate.

Coutinho - who had been Brazil's best attacking player in this World Cup so far - had a golden chance to equalize the game in the 84th minute.



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