Belgium’s attacking Premier League based trio of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku have all been singled out for praise after they beat Brazil to progress to the World Cup semi-finals.
The Belgians had been put in the bracket of dark horses prior to the action getting underway in Russia this summer, due to their lack of international pedigree despite the wealth of Premier League talent at Roberto Martinez’s disposal.
They were drawn against five time World Cup winners Brazil in a highly anticipated game, a game which would have been worthy of the final itself.
Despite Brazil boasting the likes of Neymar, Coutinho, Willian, Fernandinho, Paulinho and Marcelo among their star studded ranks, it would be the samba stars who were the latest big name to be dumped out of this unpredictable World Cup, as the Red Devils took one huge step towards next weekend’s final.
Man City midfielder Fernandinho gave Belgium the lead with an unfortunate own goal, before his club team mate Kevin de Bruyne fired a rasping strike into Alisson’s goal. Renato Augusto pulled one back to make it a tense finish, but Martinez’s men held on until the end.
While it was a fine effort from the entire Belgian side throughout, former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin singled out Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku for special praise, with the latter being described as ‘unplayable’ after his tireless lung busting runs and hold-up play:
“You have got to do something special to stop this Brazilian side, and Belgium made tactical changes with four at the back,” Nevin told BBC Radio 5 live.
“It was a big call to bring Marouane Fellaini back, but he stuck to his job so the system was perfect.
“Of course, it helps when your players are on form. Eden Hazard was brilliant, as was Kevin De Bruyne, who you know always makes the right pass, and Romelu Lukaku was unplayable up to 60 minutes.
“He was the main man at breaking it up and holding the ball up for Hazard and De Bruyne to play off him.”