World Cup: Brazil 1 Belgium 2 - 5 things you need to know

Belgium's assistant coach Thierry Henry hugs Brazil's forward Neymar.
Belgium's assistant coach Thierry Henry hugs Brazil's forward Neymar.PHOTO: AFP

They arrive in Russia with high hopes of a record-extending sixth World Cup title but Brazil have tumbled out after a limp display in the quarter-final defeat by Belgium. Although the Selecao were the favourites, it was the Red Devils who had a solid game plan that not only stopped Brazil from playing but also gave Roberto Martinez's men the platform to attack and grind out a 2-1 win.

1. Goals

Brazil (Renato Augusto 76th minute) Belgium (Fernandinho own-goal 13th, Kevin de Bruyne 31st min)

2. The wow moment

As Brazil applied the initial pressure, Belgium had to sit deep, soak it up before springing forward on the break. That was best illustrated in this sucker punch when a Selecao corner broke down and Romelu Lukaku ran at Brazil's defence. He took a bunch of yellow shirts after him before slipping the ball to de Bruyne, who had time and space to whack his shot past Alisson's dive from outside the box.

3. The talking point

Martinez's appointment as Belgium coach in 2016 caused debate owing to his average record at Everton. It was also debatable if he could handle all of the country's big stars after a managerial career that took in Swansea and Wigan Athletic. But the Spaniard pulled out all the aces against Tite in Kazan. Although the plan was not aesthetic, plonking Marouane Fellaini in midfield alongside Axel Witsel was key to the win. Not only did the duo broke down wave after wave of Brazilian attacks, they freed de Bruyne and Eden Hazard to counter at speed. On the biggest stage of all, Martinez can raise a triumphant fist and say that he had formulated Brazil's downfall.

4. The star

Hazard was pivotal in the final minutes as he drew fouls and ran down the clock. De Bruyne was a danger whenever he was inside Brazil's half. But it was the much-maligned Fellaini who should take a bow. The man with the big afro had always been ridiculed for his big hair, his limitations as a footballer and his penchant for a flying elbow. But it was his muscular approach that won the day for Belgium. He was focused on his task of breaking down Brazil's moves and feeding his team-mates with a simple task. It was not glamorous but it certainly swung the result.

5. What the result means

For the first time since 1986, Belgium have progressed to the World Cup semi-finals, where they will meet European neighbour France. Martinez's men are peaking nicely in this tournament. They had a solid group stage, winning all three games. They suffered and endured a mighty scare against Japan before emerging with their team spirit enhanced. Now, they can claim a mighty scalp in Brazil. As for the Selecao, the World Cup exit is a bitter disappointment after how Tite turned them into genuine contenders. Remember, the tactician had to revive them after a string of poor results under Dunga and the team still hungover from that 7-1 whipping by Germany. Still, Tite had done well and his core players - Neymar, Alisson, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus, still have time on their side for another tournament. Shame about Neymar, though. The playacting and diving has got to stop if he wants to be the best player in the world. He certainly was on a roll in Russia but not the kind of roll we wanted to see.