FIFA World Cup 2018: Beating Brazil is beautiful, says Kevin de Bruyne
Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne, whose stunning long-ranger sent five-time champions crashing out in quarter-finals, says beating Neymar & Co has given them the confidence to get the better of an in-form France in semi-finals
Belgium are on a once-in-a-lifetime journey that they plan on extending, according to Kevin De Bruyne. The Manchester City man scored a stunning goal as the Red Devils beat tournament favourites Brazil 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
A Tuesday date with France now stands between them and a first ever final, the current squad having matched the exploits of their 1986 countrymen. This particular group of Belgian players have long been talked up and De Bruyne has his eyes set on making the most of this opportunity. "We have achieved something that is really beautiful and not easy," he said.
Belgians, a proud lot
"We are proud to reach the semi-finals and will do our utmost to win that match. We are in the top four and are happy, but once you're that close, you want to do everything you can. Only a few times in your lifetime [can you come to a World Cup], you might go to two or three in a lifetime if you're lucky. We will do all we can and hopefully we can give you some nice images of Belgium. We are going to give everything we can to beat France."
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne shoots to score against Brazil in the quarter-finals at the Kazan Arena on Friday. Pics/AFP
For all their critics, France have moved into the last four with a minimum of fuss, ruthlessly disposing of Uruguay on Friday, and De Bruyne knows how dangerous they are. "It's an extraordinary team [France] but when you reach the semi-finals of a World Cup you're never going to find ordinary opposition," he said.
"Thirty-two teams [started out], they all know how to play football. We are on an equal footing with France, we will try and do everything we can physically and mentally. In the end, you do all you can to win and if they're better, they're better. That's football." Coach Roberto Martinez with Thierry Henry, are getting the best out of this ultra-talented Belgian squad, and he admitted to finding the one thing he missed in club football — a human touch.
'Brazil nearly scored'
"The game, the last five minutes more, I felt we could lose a lot and the players did not deserve it," said Martinez. "Brazil need 30 seconds to score a goal and then 20 for another! The players had a look in their eye that they believed in each other. We showed experience, calmness and a real togetherness. The one thing I miss in club football is you don't always get the human beings behind the players, like today. That makes it worth it. I hope they realise that this Belgium team is a special generation."
Belgium's record unbeaten streak (19 wins, 5 draws)
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