World Cup wrap, Day 23: Belgium and France set up all-European semi-final

The Red Devils got the better of Brazil on Friday, while Didier Deschamps' men overcame Uruguay

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Story of the day

Favorites Brazil are out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Belgium in the quarter-finals. An own goal from Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne's strike gave the Red Devils a 2-0 cushion at half-time, and the Selecao failed to find an equaliser after Renato Augusto halved the deficit in the 76th minute.

Belgium will now contest its first World Cup semi-final since 1986 on Tuesday, while Brazil's wait for a sixth title goes on. Qatar 2022 will be its next chance to win the trophy, by which time it will have been 20 years since its last appearance in the final.


Today in 30 seconds

It was a day of Europe vs. South America as the quarter-finals got under way, with the former continent emerging triumphant on two occasions. Together with Brazil's loss, Uruguay's 2-0 defeat by France means there are no longer any CONMEBOL nations left standing.

France will fancy their chances of going all the way after its comfortable victory over the Uruguayans on Friday. Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann got the goals for Les Blues, which has now kept three clean sheets in Russia.

Play of the day

A major error from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera helped Griezmann put France 2-0 up in Saturday's first match, but his opposite number preserved Les Bleus' lead towards the end of the first half.

Martin Caceres' header looked destined for the bottom corner after the defender met Lucas Torreira's free-kick in the air, but Hugo Lloris did brilliantly to clamber across his line and get a strong hand to the ball to keep it out.

Man of the moment

Roberto Martinez hasn't always been the most popular man in Belgium, but the Red Devils boss masterminded his team's surprise victory over Brazil. A change in formation to a 4-4-2 diamond paid dividends, as Brazil was unable to cope with being outnumbered in midfield.

The first goal certainly had an element of good fortune to it, but Martinez still deserves credit for setting his side up in this way. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with the same shape against France.

The wacky and weird


Some soccer fans may remember Paul the Octopus from the 2010 World Cup, a mollusc who shot to fame by correctly predicting the outcome of eight games in South Africa.

The psychic mantle has now been passed over to two Russia-based dolphins ahead of the hosts' quarter-final against Croatia on Saturday. Mitya and Solnyshko were thrown round discs depicting the flags of the two nations and told to bring them back, with the Russian flag returned quickest three times out of four - thus leading to a prediction of a 3-1 win for Stanislav Cherchesov's crew.

What's next?

The remaining two quarter-finals take place on Saturday.

10 a.m. ET Sweden vs. England

2 p.m. ET Russia vs. Croatia

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