The stadium that's become the graveyard of World Cup giants

Doug Mendoza
July 8, 2018

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.

Brazil's last meaningful piece of play came when Neymar attempted to curl the ball into the top right corner from just outside Belgium's 18-yard-area.

Off Nacer Chadli's corner, the ball deflected off of Fernandinho, playing for the suspended Casemiro, for an own goal giving Belgium the 1-0 lead.

Argentina lost its Round of 16 clash with France at the ground, which is the home stadium for Russian Premier League side, Rubin Kazan.

The last time the two teams met was in 2002, when Brazil clinched a 2-0 victory en route to lifting their fifth World Cup title.

It has fueled confidence inside the Belgium camp that it can deal with adversity and make the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1986. Luckily for the Belgians or anyone else who might be considered a favorite at this point, Friday's match was the last one that will be played at Kazan Arena in this World Cup.

Seemingly undeterred, Brazil immediately went on the attack, and Willian forced Courtois into a diving save with an awkward cross from the right.

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Shortly after the hour mark, Belgium could have been out of sight after another rapid counterattack, but Hazard shot wide after being released by de Bruyne. You win and you lose. Belgium has scored 12 goals in the tournament, with Romelu Lukaku sitting in second place in tournament scoring with four of those goals in three matches.

England plays Sweden in the quarterfinals on Saturday, at face value a far easier proposition than meeting Brazil.

There is guaranteed to be a fourth straight European team winning the World Cup on July 15 in Moscow.

Though Belgium and Brazil are evenly matched in terms of quality, coach Roberto Martinez said there's a simple difference between the two teams. Kevin De Bruyne has been pulling the strings in midfield for his side effectively but his work has gone unnoticed for he has failed to create the expected magic.

Five-times winners Brazil, meanwhile, have got stronger and stronger as the tournament has progressed and are expected to again deploy Gabriel Jesus up-front with Fernandinho and Ederson among the replacements.

The Selecao continued to dominate possession and carved out chance after chance, especially after Augusto headed home Philippe Coutinho's cross to give them renewed hope some three minutes after replacing Paulinho.

After falling behind to Fernandinho's own goal 13 minutes in, A Seleção were caught cold by Belgium's precise planning.

Other reports by GizPress

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