After seeing France beat Uruguay in the first quarter-final earlier today, the winner of Brazil - Belgium knew that it was Les Bleus that awaited in the semifinal on Tuesday. It was a clash of two of the favourites to win the World Cup that met in Kazan on Friday evening — and what a match it was! Marcelo was back after the back injury he picked up against Serbia; while Casemiro was suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the game against Mexico.
Brazil got the first big chance of the game when Thiago Silva hit the post after a corner after just seven minutes. In the following counterattack, Eden Hazard’s shot from around 20 meters got blocked, and the tone of the match was set — the rest of the half was just a back-and-forth offensive feast.
After 13 minutes, a corner from Nacer Chadli hit Fernandinho’s shoulder and the ball went in behind Alisson Becker, and Brazil had gone behind a goal thanks to an own goal. After 25 minutes, Marcelo fired off a shot from around 20 meters, but Thibaut Courtois saved well. Five minutes later, Belgium would get their second goal of the night. Romelu Lukaku ran through Brazil’s whole midfield and played Kevin de Bruyne through. The Manchester City midfielder fired it off and the ball went into the far corner behind Alisson.
At the end of the first half, it was Brazil that had the momentum. Five minutes after De Bruyne’s goal, Marcelo curled a good cross into the Belgium area, but Gabriel Jesus didn’t get his header on goal. A minute later it was Marcelo yet again that created danger for Brazil. The left back got down to the line and tried to put it back into the box. The cross hit a Belgium player and went towards the net, but Thibaut Courtois pulled off a good save to deny Brazil their first goal of the evening and the teams went to halftime with Belgium leading 2-0.
Five minutes after the break Marcelo put a hard cross into the Belgium area, but yet again, it was centimeters away from Brazil connecting and scoring a goal. Five minutes later, it was Marcelo yet again that crossed it to Gabriel Jesus, who got fouled by Vincent Kompany. VAR didn’t interfere with Milorad Mažić’s decision, and Brazil was not awarded a penalty.
With 15 minutes to go, Brazil finally got their much-needed goal. Coutinho played a fantastic lobbed pass to substitute Renato Augusto who headed it into the net. With ten minutes to go, it was Augusto who got a big opportunity to equalize, but the midfielder missed the goal with his shot from the edge of the area. Three minutes later, Coutinho got a huge chance but couldn’t capitalize from a clear goal-scoring position.
In added time it was a spark of magic that decided the match. Neymar received the ball on the end of the area. The winger tried to curl the ball into the top right corner, but Thibaut Courtois pulled off a fantastic save to deny the Paris Saint-Germain player, and Belgium ended up winning 2-1 and will meet France on Tuesday. Marcelo played a really good game, both offensively and defensively. The left back was much involved in Brazil’s offensive play, but he couldn’t prevent Brazil from getting knocked out in the quarter-final yet again.