KAZAN, July 6: Belgium reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 32 years by holding off five-time champion Brazil 2-1 Friday, sending Neymar home without living up to the expectations of being football’s most expensive player.
Kevin De Bruyne put Belgium up 2-0 by completing a counterattack led by Romelu Lukaku in the 31st minute.
The opener came after a bit of good fortune. Fernandinho’s trailing arm inadvertently helped Belgium captain Vincent Kompany’s header land in his own net in the 13th.
As Belgium lost cohesiveness in the second half and Brazil’s changes stirred the team, substitute Renato Augusto reduced the deficit with a header in the 76th.
But it was too late for Brazil to muster an equalizer as efforts to force the game into extra time were thwarted by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Belgium will face France in the semifinals on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.