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Coutinho ready for backlash after Brazil exit

09 Juillet 2018

Never mind that his impossibly gifted and deep golden generation was surely capable of more.

The Red Devils face Les Bleus, champions in 1998, on Tuesday in St Petersburg, bidding to reach the final for the first time.

Up next for Belgium in the last four is Didier Deschamps' France, and De Bruyne is ready to grasp a rare opportunity for his country. Brazil's second-half fightback came after sustained cheering and chanting by their sizeable fan contingent at Kazan Arena.

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. "This was very hard for us to swallow", he said.

But Belgium, now unbeaten in 24 matches, sensationally doubled their lead by breaking from a Brazil corner in the 31st minute. He had two penalty appeals turned down, and, with nearly the last kick of the match, a shot bound for goal that needed all of Courtois's height - and skill - to tip over the bar. "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". Quoted by USA Today, he said: "We know what we are capable of but Brazil are the favourites".

"Hazard is one of the best in the world, but now we're on opposite sides", Willian said.

Again, you could argue with that. Getting the ball inside the box, Jesus did well to nutmeg Jan Vertonghen, but was taken down by an advancing Kompany as the ball went out of play. Lukaku dropped into midfield and fed de Bruyne, who smashed home an unstoppable strike from the edge of the penalty area.

"I'm sure will be beaten up [by criticism] from all sides".

"Against them, there's a psychological barrier - the yellow tops, the five world titles and everything that goes with that", Martinez told reporters of facing Brazil. It's going to give you pleasure.

Fernandinho's World Cup woes continued, Hazard's corner coming off the midfielder's arm to glide past Alisson and into the net as he rose to block.

Fernandinho's own goal early in the first half was bad enough but when De Bruyne shot a bullet after a masterful break from Lukaku, Belgium was over the hill and far away.

But it took the arrival of China-based Augusto 17 minutes from time that sparked Brazil into life. And the Belgians got lucky here and there.

The Selecao continued to dominate possession and carved out chance after chance, especially after Augusto headed home Philippe Coutinho's cross to give them renewed hope some three minutes after replacing Paulinho.

An enormous save by Thibaut Courtois in injury time sealed it, capping a night in which he'd stood on his head.

The victory was splashed across the front pages of Belgium's newspaper.

Coutinho ready for backlash after Brazil exit