Belgium booked a World Cup semi-final against France as Brazil’s hopes of winning a sixth title were ended by a 2-1 defeat in Kazan.
A pair of early corners were poorly defended by Belgium, but Thiago Silva was only able to turn his effort against the post before Paulinho mis-hit his shot when picked out in the box.
Belgium then scored from their first corner of the game in the 13th minute.
Vincent Kompany tried to flick on Eden Hazard’s left-wing delivery but the decisive touch came from his Manchester City teammate Fernandinho, who was deputising for Casemiro and turned the ball past Alisson via his arm.
Thibault Courtois made comfortable saves from Philippe Coutinho and Willian as Brazil, playing in the quarter-finals for the seventh straight World Cup, rallied.
But Belgium, now unbeaten in 24 matches, sensationally doubled their lead by breaking from a Brazil corner in the 31st minute.
Kevin De Bruyne advanced on the exposed Marcelo and arrowed a wonderful drive across Alisson from the edge of the penalty area after Romelu Lukaku collected the ball, turned and embarked on a 40-yard rampaging run with a perfect pass at the end to free the playmaker.
Referee Milorad Mazic waved away Neymar’s penalty appeals at the end of the first half, with the official unimpressed again as the Paris Saint-Germain star went to ground after the restart.
Tite introduced Roberto Firmino for Willian at the break and the striker got the slightest of touches on a low Marcelo centre, before Mazic again refused to point to the spot when Kompany appeared to bring down Gabriel Jesus.
Hazard missed a chance to wrap the tie up by firing wide from De Bruyne’s pass, with Courtois denying substitute Douglas Costa at the other end.
Brazil’s third change yielded a goal three minutes and 14 seconds after his introduction, with Renato Augusto gliding between two static Belgium defenders to nod a flicked header past Courtois from a sublime Coutinho cross.
And Augusto could have levelled moments later, but instead dragged his 20-yard shot just wide as Brazil piled the pressure on Belgium in the last 10 minutes.
Coutinho’s first-time shot flew wide and yet another Neymar penalty appeal was rejected, before the world’s most expensive player drew a phenomenal fingertip save from Courtois in the 94th minute.
But Belgium held on and the much-maligned Roberto Martinez will lead his side into a World Cup semi-final against France on Tuesday.
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