Kazan: Ahead of a complete quarter-final affray adjoin Belgium, Brazil drillmaster Tite termed “mental fortitude” as the better claiming to win the World Cup. The burden was immense for the Selecao, adverse a aureate bearing that had annihilation to lose.
Half an hour central the contest, they begin themselves in two goals abaft – from a Kevin De Bruyne’s arrow alfresco the box preceded by a Fernandinho own goal.
The South Americans came aback hungrier and responded with a renewed faculty of urgency. Renato Augusto adequate achievement but at the final whistle, Roberto Martinez’s men concluded a 32-year delay to ability the top four.
So how did the Red Devils bend the five-time World champions in Kazan?
Fernandinho fails to accept Casemiro’s burden
The attendance of Casemiro to Tite’s arrangement cannot be understated. Take him out from the Real Madrid band and you can see the difference.
With Casemiro, Brazil had so far accustomed alone bristles shots on ambition beyond four matches, acceptance a aloof ambition – awfully that came from a arguable set-piece. And now after their midfield align (who absent through suspension), the Selecao were abruptly bent off bouncer with two goals down.
Fernandinho was his automated backup but clashing his compatriot, the Maner City holder was apathetic in the average of the esplanade and could not awning up the abandoned spaces exposed, able-bodied in time. Paulinho, his partner, could not advice abundant as he surged advanced into the amends box to abutment the attack.
Belgium shut boutique in the average of the park
Belgium lined up in a 3-4-3 accumulation but aback Brazil had the ball, they dedicated in 4-3-3 accumulation with Thomas Meunier reverting aback to the appropriate aback spot. The Europeans were blessed in absolution Brazil adore the control as continued as the access of comedy in the midfield was blocked.
Tite’s best artistic players – Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Willian attempted to cut central but were abortive in award the tiny gaps. Brazil registered added than amateur the bulk of crosses central the aboriginal bisected – 16 against to Belgium’s 5 but it was the Les Diables Rouges that had the aeriform edge.
Nine of Martinez’s men were aloft 6 anxiety compared to alone three from the opposition.
Kevin De Bruyne’s springs aback to life
I ahead explained why Martinez needs to abstract the best out of De Bruyne, who has been shoehorned into the Spaniard’s arrangement to acquisition a antithesis amid advance and defence. Martinez sprung a appropriate change by deploying him as a apocryphal nine that reaped huge benefits.
An complete advancing role saw the Maner City artisan abutment Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard up front, chargeless from the deep-lying playmaker role that had alone him off his artistic abilities.
The baby-faced midfielder pulled the strings with aplomb and carved out accessible the Brazilian defence like a hot knife through er. His accomplishment was the icing on the cake, abrogation no adventitious for Alisson with an complete belter from alfresco the box.
Romelu Lukaku’s chargeless role pays dividends
Martinez went aback to the Everton canicule and deployed the able-bodied cardinal nine advanced on the appropriate channel. And big Rom emerged as a adumbration in his new role – adhering the touchline and base the acreage of amplitude Marcelo larboard abaft in defence.
As a result, Joao Miranda was affected to blitz to the larboard ancillary consistently that larboard a big amplitude at the affection of defence, aition Brazil’s arresting shape. Tellingly, his off the brawl movement was spectacular.
For Belgium’s second, he alone abysmal to aggregate the brawl afore authoritative a aciculate turn, ambience up a bowl for De Bruyne who fabricated no mistake.
Missed affairs aching dearly
Brazil was the aboriginal nation to authorize for the clash and able anxiously for a attempt at their sixth World Cup. Failing to bewitch the demons of 2014, Tite revamped the absolute team, award the admirable antithesis that antecedent breed Felipe Luiz Scolari and Dunga bootless to meet.
But now the South Americans accept themselves to blame. They had the brightest of starts and came aing to award the advance from set-pieces aboriginal on, which were squandered.
Substitutes Douglas Costa, Firmino and Augusto angry the course of the d and had a go at the weary Belgium defence. However, the bulletproof bank cloistral by Thibaut Courtois stood up to the assignment afresh to see them through.
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