Ferdinand: Belgium the 'team to beat'


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.

"Only a few times in a lifetime you might get to go to tournaments and we'll do all we can to be ready and hopefully we can give some nice images of Belgium, that's why we're here and we're going to give everything we can to win that game against France". "This was very hard for us to swallow", he said. Or maybe this is year that England finally, finally, wins another major global tournament.

Lukaku more than a goalscorerStill in the race for the Golden Boot behind Harry Kane, with Belgium now guaranteed two more matches, Romelu Lukaku has shown another side to his game so far in the knockout phase after scoring four times in the group stages. And then there's this.

If Belgium's victor against Japan in the Round of 16 was a textbook counter-attack, the second goal against Brazil went a notch better.

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

Brazil dominated possession and carved out chance after chance but, despite the best efforts of Neymar, were unable to find the net until substitute Renato Augusto headed home Philippe Coutinho's cross 14 minutes from time.

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Belgium will face France in the semifinals on Tuesday in St. Petersburg. The other semifinal will be played on Wednesday between the winners of England-Sweden and Croatia-Russia.

Along with Thibaut Courtois and Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard has always been dreaming of taking on Brazil and their Chelsea team-mate Willian in the Final, a pleasure he will now have in the quarter-finals instead.

"Randomness happened and it was cruel to us", Brazil coach Tite said. "When you say we are going to play in a certain way, they changed their tactical disposition and tactics.it (our gameplan) was executed to perfection".

Especially after Brazil conceded only one goal in the previous four games in Russian Federation. "There was a point during his rehab process in New York that some of the Spurs brass went out to see him in New York", Wright said, via Back to Back The Podcast. The idea of playing De Bruyne in the false nine role with Hazard and Lukaku using the width of the ground was showing promise, but not in anyway looking threatening in terms of goals.

Martinez's men put that to bed in style in Kazan, though, matching Belgium's previous best World Cup run when they reached the last four in 1986.

As Brazil's dream of a record-extending sixth World Cup ended‚ Roberto Martinez's Belgium ended a 32-year wait to reach the final four of the tournament.