How Belgium's 'golden generation' are making their mark at World Cup

Willian and Hazard in a past match for Chelsea

Willian and Hazard in a past match for Chelsea

But it is Belgium's "golden generation" who will take their place in a World Cup semi-final lineup that for the first time will not feature one of Brazil, Argentina or Germany.

It's the latest surprise in a tournament full of upsets, which has included Spain's shocking loss to Russian Federation in the knockout rounds and, even more surprisingly, Germany crashing out of the group stage.

Out of any side at this World Cup, Belgium have the most players returning from the 2014 tournament.

Of the remaining teams, France, another popular pick to win it all at the outset, is likely the new favorite. "This was very hard for us to swallow‚" he said. Or maybe this is year that England finally, finally, wins another major global tournament.

So which players will Martinez be most pleased with after that huge win? And then there's this.

"For me, Brazil are the best team in the tournament and without a doubt the biggest threat from open play", said Martinez.

Augusto gave Brazil a lifeline in the 75th minute with a headed goal barely three minutes after coming on.

Willian said that victory over Japan and adversity will have boosted Belgium's confidence but that he was sure his own team are favourites to move on to the semi-finals. The next day in Moscow, it will be either England or Sweden against either Russian Federation or Croatia. But if any team had the ability to overturn a two-goal deficit, it was this Brazil side.




His crowning moment came in the form of a stunning run which started outside Belgium's box and ended with a pinpoint ball to De Bruyne, who finished superbly.

Five-time world champion Brazil came into Friday's quarterfinal match at Russian Federation 2018 as the clear favorite to beat the Red Devils and reach next week's semifinal versus France, which had dispatched Uruguay hours earlier.

'I helped Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne and explained to them how they should stand and what to do, explaining once was enough, we did the job perfectly, we won deservedly.

Belgian soccer fans celebrate after the Belgium's goal as they watch the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup quarter-final match between Brazil and Belgium, in Woluwe, Brussels, on July 6, 2018.

"They were born to play in a match like this", Martinez added. There was the penalty shout that fell on deaf ears after striker Gabriel Jesus - who went scoreless in Russian Federation - was taken down by Vincent Kompany 10 minutes into the second half.

The attacking duo of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho began running riots in opposition's half keeping Belgian defenders on their toes in the last 20-25 minutes of the game.

The Brazilians were made to pay for their profligacy in the 13th minute, as Fernandinho diverted a Nacer Chadli corner into his own net. Now we have the time so see how we're going to approach it.

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