Five-time FIFA World Cup winners Brazil were locked into a fierce 90-minute battle with Roberto Martinez's Belgium in a quarter-final match and after much effort laced with blood, sweat and tears; the Selecao were eliminated from the football extravaganza in Russian Federation.
Their World Cup hopes were turned upside down in 31 first-half minutes when Fernandinho's 13th minute own goal put Belgium ahead before a superb strike from Kevin De Bruyne left Brazil, and Neymar, staring at a spectacular defeat. "Scoring against Brazil is not the best moment of my career".
"It's tough to take because this ends our dream of winning the cup".
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.
As they head into Friday's quarter-final against Belgium in Kazan they do so with the joint-best defensive record at this year's World Cup alongside Uruguay, having allowed only one goal against Switzerland in their opening Group E fixture.
Up next for Roberto Martinez's side will be a highly anticipated semifinal matchup with their southern neighbors, France, the last remaining pre-tournament favorite still breathing.
"Providing assists is also important, and this year I have provided more than ever". Widely regarded as one of the world's best goalkeepers, Courtois has won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and La Liga while on loan at Atletico Madrid, but his nine-save display against Brazil was one of his best yet on the big worldwide stage.
And Lukaku admits he helped Martinez get his message across in training by giving tactical advice to Hazard and De Bruyne. Not for one minute were [Belgium] going to give up.
Brazil, ranked second in the world by Federation Internationale de Football Association, were the last remaining non-European team in the tournament after Les Bleus knocked out Uruguay in Friday's first quarter-final.
"He was the main man at breaking it up and holding the ball up for Hazard and De Bruyne to play off him".
Brazil saw two penalty claims in quick succession waved away by Serbian referee Milorad Mazic after Neymar tumbled following contact with Fellaini and Gabriel went to ground after a challenge from Vincent Kompany. "We played a ideal first half". But Brazil looked impressive against Mexico, and with Neymar getting fitter and more effective with every outing, the Belgians should be concerned.
Brazil's third change yielded a goal three minutes and 14 seconds after his introduction, Augusto gliding between two static Belgium defenders to nod a flicked header past Courtois from a sublime Coutinho cross.