College Football Pick’em
Week Two Recap
Talking the business of sports
Goodbye, South America.
Belgium knocked off World Cup favorite Brazil 2-1 on Friday in the quarterfinals, moving on to the semifinals to face France. Kevin De Bruyne’s winner sets up what is guaranteed to be an all-European semifinal on both sides of the bracket.
Belgium took a commanding 2-0 lead in the first half, looking sharp in the middle in the process, and Roberto Martinez’s team was able to hold on late as Brazil looked likely to follow up its first goal in the match with an equalizer. An inspired, world-class Thibaut Courtois made numerous key saves, including one in the 94th minute to keep Neymar out.
The victory means Belgium will play in the semifinals for the second time in history and the first time since 1986.
Though Brazil started well on the ball, Belgium’s poise and confidence shined through. The team was organized and able to keep the ball away from Brazil quite a bit before the opener. On 13 minutes, Vincent Kompany went near post for a header that hit off Fernadinho and went into the goal for the 1-0 lead:
“Own Goal” shows up in the quarterfinals to put Belgium ahead! 😂 pic.twitter.com/PuK5j01WVw
Then 19 minutes later, the game was turned on its head when Kevin De Bruyne scored a wonderful goal on the counter, beating Alisson across the box to the far post:
The counter attack was brilliant, but let’s take another look at that STUNNER by Kevin De Bruyne 😍😍 pic.twitter.com/ZUbd611bXe
Just look at where that ball went:
De Bruyne hit this SO clean. 👌 pic.twitter.com/2uHXN1HOIU
But Brazil was confident coming back. Roberto Firmino came on for Willian, and the five-time champs threatened over and over again. They had 26 shots on the night, nine of them on target, but Courtois was out of this world, while also getting help in the first half from the post.
But Tite’s team would find a goal. 76 minutes in, Renato Augusto scored off a brilliant header to make it 2-1, giving his team the belief that the comeback was still there. Here’s Augusto’s fine goal:
Renato Augusto pulls one back for Brazil to make it 2-1 with 15 minutes left! pic.twitter.com/j6aXmKlsQ3
But that was all Brazil would be able to put past Courtois, as the Chelsea goalkeeper made save after save, stepping up with Belgium playing just three at the back, to secure the stunning victory.
The result means all four World Cup semifinalists will be from Europe for the first time since 2006. But out of the remaining six teams, four have never won the World Cup (Belgium, Sweden, Russia and Croatia) while France and England have.
A World Cup full of surprises continues to do just that — surprise us.
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