The Kazan Curse
Brazil joins both Germany and Argentina as FIFA top five ranked teams to be knocked out of the World Cup in Kazan.
How was Belgium able to pull this off?
Pure genius coaching, and then execution from Roberto Martinez, and then the Belgium side. Especially from attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who is, in my opinion the best passer in the game. He continuously fed Eden Hazard, and Romelu Lukaku in on absolutely gorgeous balls. Not only that though he scored an incredible goal from the edge of the box, placing it perfectly past Hugo Lloris into the far post. Hazard, the Belgium captain was also stellar. He was all over the place. Whenever any of the Brazilian defenders or defensive midfielders had the ball, he was right there, swarming around them. He was also fearless with the ball, and will be vital to Belgium's success versus France in the semi final. And Romelu Lukaku was his usual self. Although the tournament's second leading scorer did not put one in the back of the net, or even take a shot for that matter, Lukaku was dangerous throughout the entire match. He punished defenders with his physical but quick play, and was a true force on the front line. And last but not least, Thibaut Courtois. What else has to be said? He made nine saves, including easily the save of the tournament in the 94th minute off of Neymar.
How did a seemingly perfect team lose?
First of all, not that I'm making excuses for Brazil, but they were missing Real Madrid defensive midfielder Casemiro, who was suspended for recording yellow cards in two straight games. The loss was a huge blow. second of all, they couldn't execute. No one could say that Brazil didn't have any chances, because they certainly did. In just the eighth minute, a corner kick redirected off of Thiago Silva's thigh and then off the Russian post. Also, in the fifty fifth minute, Brazil should have had a penalty after Gabriel Jesus was taken down on a tackle from Vincent Kompany. Neymar played his usual game, creating brilliant chances for his teammates. Although Coutinho had an incredible assist feeding in Renato Augusto on Brazil's only goal of the match, he did not have a great game. He missed a possible equalizer in the 84th minute that should have been in the back of the net. But if anyone thinks that Neymar is overrated, they're wrong.