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FIFA World Cup 2018: Roberto Martinez hails ‘heroes’ after Belgium shock Brazil

Belgium tore Brazil apart on the counter-attack in the first half of their FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter-final, before hanging on in the second to close out a famous 2-1 victory.

football Updated: Jul 07, 2018 08:04 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Kazan, Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018,World Cup 2018,Brazil vs Belgium
Belgium’s coach Roberto Martinez during the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-final football match between Brazil and Belgium at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on July 6, 2018. (AP)

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said his side “deserve to be heroes” back home after downing five-time champions Brazil on Friday to set up a World Cup semi-final clash against France. (BRA v BEL highlights)

The Red Devils tore Brazil apart on the counter-attack in the first half, before hanging on in the second to close out a famous 2-1 victory.

“They did incredible. There were amazing hearts out there. I didn’t think for one minute their hearts would give way,” said Martinez.

“You have to accept that Brazil have so much quality and finesse, they break you down, but we did not accept it. Not for one minute were they (Belgium) going to give up.

READ | FIFA World Cup: Belgium beat Brazil in thriller to seal semi-final spot

“These boys deserve to be heroes in Belgium. The execution of the tactics was magnificent.

“It is special and we can’t let the people of Belgium down. We can pass that down the generations -- beating Brazil.”

Belgium will next face France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday as they look to reach the final for the first time in their history.

The current team has been tagged the ‘golden generation’ in recent years, but had lost their last two major quarter-finals against Argentina four years ago and Wales at Euro 2016.

Martinez’s men put that to bed in style in Kazan, though, matching Belgium’s previous best World Cup run when they reached the last four in 1986.

READ | Why Antoine Griezmann didn’t celebrate goal against Uruguay

“I know it’s not easy to play against Brazil,” midfielder Kevin De Bruyne told the BBC.

“But we were magnificent first half and they changed tactics second half. We showed our character after they scored. We did very well with our running from deep, it is wonderful.

“We are here to try and win the World Cup and are very united.”

First Published: Jul 07, 2018 02:21 IST