- Belgium will face France in the Semifinal
- Brazil conceded one early own-goal
- Red Devils score another goal from counter attack through De Bruyne
Belgium beat Brazil 2-1 in Kazan in the first semi-final of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and booking their return to the final four for the first time in three decades.Roberto Martinez’s side were brilliant in the first period as an own goal from Fernandinho and an excellent strike from Kevin de Bruyne put them in command at half-time. Renato Augusto got Brazil back in with a shout near the end but the Red Devils held on for the win and a place against France in the semi-finals.
The factors which differentiated both the teams in Belgium vs Brazil match,
- Roberto Martinez Game Plan: Roberto Martinez pointed out that to beat Brazil, it is not enough to put your talent up against theirs and hope to win – even with the talent in his side. Rather, you have to have a plan. He also pointed out that to beat Brazil, it is not enough to put your talent up against theirs and hope to win – even with the talent in his side. Rather, you have to have a plan. He put an ultra-defensive plan and started with Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli. They almost form an wall in their box, allowing no-space for anyone to step in and they blocked most of the long-rangers from outside of the box. They defend with all the resources, with provocation for Brazil to step up attack and then open with counter attack. Second goal by De Bruyne, was an out-of-your-seat, counter-attacking classic.
- Execution of the Plan: Martinez added. “The players have to believe in a plan. I have never lost on the tactics board but I have lost many on the pitch. It is all about the execution on the pitch. There was a lot of threat to stop. We wanted to have a threat and Eden and Romelu gave us that with their position on the pitch. It was brave but if you execute it well it gives you a period when the opposition don’t know how to deal with it.” His team perfectly executed his plan while defending against Brazilian attack at the edge of their own box and during the counter attack.
- Brazil was shocked and did not have an answer: Brazil could not really open Belgium defence. They could not breach off-side trap, neither they could made through the defence. Gabriel Jesus, who had a goalless 5-match world cup, was ineffective and substituted after the break. Substitute Douglus Costa made some good move from right flank. They also were inept to manage the attack through flanks by Lukaku and Hazard.
- Absense of Casemiro: This is one reason that destroyed Brazil game. Casemiro, who was suspended for today’s match because of two yellow cards, was responsible for leading Brazilian midfield . Fernandinho who replaced Casemiro for this game, was not a match and moreover, he conceded a own-goal from Hazard corner in 13th minute.
- Thibaut Courtois: The Belgium goal-keeper made some incredible saves, one each from Coutinho and Neymar.
- Luck run out for Brazil: At 13 th minute, Fernandinho glanced in a silly near-post own-goal under no pressure, but it seems he had very limited vision of the ball trajectory as fellow Gabriel Jesus came on the way. Earlier, Thiago Silva had hit the post from a corner; this goal could have shifted the dynamic of the game. At the dying moments of the game, Coutinho who had the best chance for the equaliser, from Neymar’s lay-off, blasted it over the post.
- Neymar: For Neymar, he was not in his usual self. He seems to be part of a team that was unlucky at times but it is he who is supposed to be able to rescue in these situations. He almost did it, in the final moments of injury-time when Thibaut Courtois thrust a glove upwards to push a shot from Neymar over the bar. But rest of the time he was just average. He was trying hard, but lost ball to Belgium defenders number of times.
- 50-50 Decision went against Brazil: In the second half Jesus slipped the ball through the legs of Jan Vertonghen and Kompany caught his Manchester City club-mate and not the ball. Tite, Brazil Coach, refused to blame the decisions of the Serb referee Milorad Mazic who might have reviewed penalty-area foul by Vincent Kompany on Gabriel Jesus in the second half. “I don’t want to talk about it because I sounds like whining,” Tite said. “But I would like to have seen VAR in the incident with Gabriel.” It seems, VAR decided the ball was out of play when contact was made and on reflection VAR seemed to have got it wrong.