Fans welcome Brazil team with stones after crashing out of World Cup

Wednesday, 11 Jul, 2018

Brazil stars arrived back home in sombre mood on Sunday as they touched down in Rio de Janeiro following their 2-1 quarter-final loss to Belgium.

The World Cup semi-finals may be an all-European affair but Belgium's unlikely heroes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli have ensured that at least one part of North Africa has retained a strong interest in the tournament.

Kevin De Bruyne has praised Belgium boss Roberto Martinez for instilling the belief in his team that they can win the World Cup. Another victory over Serbia and a 3-0 win over Mexico restored the belief that Brazil were still on track to do well in this tournament and - like so many other good teams - the thinking was that they had not yet reached top gear. Exhibit A: The contender for goal of the tournament scored for France by Benjamin Pavard against Argentina.

"That makes everything worth it, I hope everyone in Belgium realises this generation is special and everything they did is to make them proud".

The "Neymar challenge" has swept across social media as people try to imitate how they think the winger reacted to challenges during the World Cup.

Following Croatia's shootout win over Russia, Fox Sports soccer analyst Alexi Lalas suggested that Russia 2018 was the greatest World Cup ever.

Russia's fans are disappointed that their team's Cinderella run came to an end in the quarterfinals, but the rest of the world should be in for a treat as the remaining four squads put it all on the line for the World Cup.

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And on that goals galore note, this World Cup broke the record for longest streak without a goalless draw - 37 games before France and Denmark decided otherwise in their last Group C tie.

The semifinal clash against France will give a chance for the 19-year-old Frenchman Kylian Mbappe to make his claim to be the tournament's most exciting talent and the final itself could throw up another contender but at this stage it is Hazard who is setting the standard.

This is going to be a cracker!

Martinez - who had seen his team rally from a two-goal deficit in their last-16 tie against Japan - reacted to the goal by sending on Dries Mertens in place of Mousa Dembele.

"What we didn't have was worldwide experience, the know-how of winning a World Cup, the know-how of being a footballer, how you are expected to perform in front of the world and knowing how you feel in those moments", Martinez said on Monday.

Gone are the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar.