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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Eden Hazard magnificent as Belgium stun Brazil

Defence must still be a concern for Roberto Martinez

Eden Hazard starred for Belgium in their win over Brazil
1 of 1

Brazil 1
Augusto 76
Belgium 2 
Fernandinho og 13, De Bruyne 31

Three things we learned...

1 Hazard issues warning to other Golden Ball contenders
Belgium were always going to need their big three attacking performers to step up to beat Brazil and Eden Hazard delivered a masterclass for the Red Devils in their 2-1 quarter-final triumph.

Helped by the absence of the suspended Casemiro, Hazard destroyed Brazil at times with a virtuoso performance which must have put him in the reckoning for the Golden Ball.

2 Martinez changes make a positive impact
Belgium always looked dangerous when counter-attacking in the first half and Roberto Martinez changing his formation to a back four helped as the addition of Marouane Fellaini in midfield freed up Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City man scored a wonderful second for Belgium which turned out to be the winner and De Bruyne playing closer to Hazard and Romelu Lukaku got the best out of all three of Belgium's key men.

3 Defence is still a concern for Belgium backers
There is still no control in Belgium's game and their matches often turn into a basketball-style encounters. Brazil's expected goals rating of 2.5 suggests there was an element of luck about Belgium's success.

Right-sided defender Thomas Meunier picked up a yellow card which rules him out of the semi-final showdown with France and there are few others in the squad capable of playing in that position unless Toby Alderweireld switches from the centre.

That would not be advisable and, for all that World Cup semi-finals are usually nervy affairs, there is the potential for their clash with neighbours France to be a high-scoring contest.

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There is the potential for their clash with neighbours France to be a high-scoring affair
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