After underachieving at both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016, the Red Devils are in a semi-final and their star names are wowing everyone.
But after a bright start from Tite’s team, it was Belgium that looked the more risky, scoring through a Fernandinho own goal in the 13th minute and increasing its lead with a superb De Bruyne strike just after the half-hour. And, just as with nearly every other case, he was a shell of himself once he did return.
‘I have played in this system more often at Everton [under Martinez], and I knew exactly what to do, ‘ Lukaku told Sporza. Kompany clearly fouled Gabriel Jesus and the Brazilians protested for a handball – but the play wouldn’t necessarily result in a penalty due to the position of the ball at the time of the foul.
“You have to accept that Brazil have so much quality and finesse, they break you down, but we did not accept it”.
This time around in Russian Federation they were beaten 2-1 by Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Coutinho badly skewed Brazil’s next chance high and wide. But Belgium has looked good as well, and could be primed to capitalize on its golden generation of players.
Of course, every failure tends to attract a scapegoat and back home in South America minds were quickly made up that Fernandinho is this year’s fall guy. The Real Madrid man was sorely missed as Fernandinho struggled to hold back Belgium’s fearsome, relentless attack.
Not when Courtois was proving to be an impenetrable barrier in the Belgium goal, denying Marcelo’s strike before the lead was extended by De Bruyne.
Neymar was fit here, but only just. And so the Spurs’ people couldn’t even see him. You do everything you can to win and if they’re better, they’ll be better and that will be football, but we’ll do everything we can to win.
It takes some luck to advance from any doe-or-die game, especially at a World Cup.
The star forward now sitting in no man’s land – demanding a trade from the Spurs while locked into his contract for at least one more season (he can opt out after the 2018-19 season) – started physically distancing himself from the team much earlier this year. The Spurs will likely have to bring down their demands to make a trade with the Lakers work.