Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semifinal

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Belgium has beaten Brazil 2-1 to reach the semifinals of the World Cup for just the second time.

The Belgians led 2-0 at halftime and withstood late pressure from the five-time champions after Renato Augusto cut the margin with a header in the 76th minute.

A Fernandinho own goal and a perfectly executed finish from Kevin De Bruyne gave Belgium a 2-0 lead over Brazil at halftime in the World Cup quarterfinal match at Kazan.

Belgium took the lead in the 13thminute after a Belgium corner from Nacer Chadli was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany with a flick, then diverted into the back of the net by Fernandinho’s shoulder.

De Bruyne doubled Belgium’s lead in the 31st minute following a swift counterattack following a Brazil corner. After the corner was cleared, Romelu Lukaku went on a mazy run through Brazil’s midfield before laying a pass off to his left for the oncoming De Bruyne, who struck his shot low into the corner of the Brazil net and beyond the dive of goalkeeper Alisson.

Brazil had chances to get back into the game, notably in the 37th minute when a curling shot from outside the area from Philippe Coutinho was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Brazil substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for the five-time champions, reducing Belgium’s lead to 2-1.

Augusto, who went on three minutes earlier as a replacement for Paulinho, connected with a cross from Philippe Coutinho and headed the ball into the net to beat ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois in the 76th minute.

Belgium, which last reached the semifinals in 1986, will next face 1998 champion France in St. Petersburg.

It will be the first time since 2006 that four European teams will feature in the World Cup semifinals.

The two other spots will be decided in Sunday’s quarterfinals which feature Russia vs. Croatia and England vs. Sweden.

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