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World Cup curse strikes: Are Belgium now favourites to win after beating Brazil?


Belgium showed a little bit of everything a World Cup-winning team need in the 2-1 quarter-final victory over Brazil - so are they now favourites for the tournament?

Roberto Martinez's Red Devils were phenomenal in the first half, leading 2-0 and threatening to blow Brazil away, before showing strength of character to hold on for the final 15 minutes after Renato Augusto's goal set up a tense finale.

This victory came just four days after they fought back from 2-0 down to beat Japan 3-2 in the last 16.

We have known for years they have the players, but questions have lingered over their mentality.

Many of those doubts now seem to have been answered, with Match of the Day pundit Rio Ferdinand saying they "are the team to beat" in Russia as they bid to win their first major tournament.

Belgium were commanding from the outset, taking the lead when Fernandinho scored an own goal before Kevin de Bruyne added a fantastic second from 25 yards.

"This result was huge," said Ferdinand. "They seem like they have a few leaders. This team were questioned for their mentality and character coming into this tournament - they disappointed at the Euros two years ago.

"This golden generation are answering their critics in the perfect way. The manner in which they dispatched Brazil, the way they started the game and bullied a very good team and then got over the line, shows they have got the bit between their teeth. They are the team to beat now."

Belgium will meet France in the first semi-final on Tuesday, while an all European final four will be made up of two from Sweden, England, Russia and Croatia.

Jurgen Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with West Germany in 1990, was similarly impressed: "It was a stunning performance. They hung in there and fought. You can see they have an amazing team spirit. They are very close - Roberto Martinez is doing an amazing job."

BBC 5 live summariser Pat Nevin added: "Belgium have got every chance of winning it.

"It helps when your players are on form. Eden Hazard was brilliant, as was De Bruyne, who you know always makes the right pass, and Romelu Lukaku was unplayable up to 60 minutes."

Culled from BBC and FIFA on Twitter

My view: So who's next on the chopping board, the curse of Kazan is never ending, it's shocking. Kevin DeBrune scored a stunning goal, man of the match, Two Manchester City players scored for Belgium!, it shows that the Premier League is the place to be. I think Courtois was amazing, If not for him, Brazil would have won. VAR has highlighted the cheats and the drama queens and inflicted the curse of Kazan on them, thanks to it.