Thibaut Courtois' message to England's Jordan Pickford after Belgium 2-1 Brazil


"When we counter-attack, our speed is crucial in turning things around".

Their joke seems to have come back to bite them now.

Neymar had a late chance to equalise but Thibaut Courtois tipped over as Belgium clung on.

"Now we face an extraordinary team in France, but any time you reach the semi-finals of a World Cup, you know you're not going to face weak opposition", he said.

Either England or Sweden will face either Russian Federation or Croatia in the other semifinal match on Wednesday in Moscow - a day after Belgium plays France in St. Petersburg. The other semifinal will be played on Wednesday between the winners of England-Sweden and Croatia-Russia.

Four years ago at home they were humiliated with a 7-1 defeat in the semi-final to Germany.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku has leapt to the defence of quarter-final opponent Neymar, insisting the Brazilian is "not an actor" despite widespread criticism from World Cup observers.

"I'm so disappointed. It was not the football we were expecting from Brazil, there was a lack of football".

Colombia fans mourn World Cup shootout loss to England
Fast forward 12 years and, although this wasn't quite as straightforward, England have now put an end to an unwanted record. England's Jordan Pickford made a massive save on Carlos Bacca and Mateus Uribe was denied by the crossbar in the shootout.

But, Belgium's physical defense combined with highlight reel saves from keeper Courtois turned Brazil back time and again.

"The greatest challenge of a World Cup is having mental fortitude". But Belgium has looked good as well, and could be primed to capitalize on its golden generation of players. "In the end we didn't accept that", said Martinez, who has been linked to the Spain job amid Belgium's success.

Announcing that Marcelo will return to the left-back position against Belgium, Tite said that Brazil will bank on team work and the individual skills of their formidable forward line, which includes Paris Saint-Germain super star Neymar.

Belgium then scored from their first corner of the game in the 13th minute. The ball appeared headed across the six-yard box, until it made contact with the arm of Fernandinho and eluded a flailing Alisson in goal.

"I think Neymar in the future will be the best in the world and I'm happy to be playing against him for the second time".

If defenders manage to stop Neymar without fouling him then he can not stay on the floor for too long, but when other players start provoking him he must do his part, which is normal. A booking - if he got one for diving - would have ruled him out of the semifinals.

Kompany obscured the view of his City team-mates Jesus and Fernandinho as he leapt to reach Chadli's cross and the ball rebounded in off the latter's shoulder.