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Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said he was the "proudest man on earth" and lavished praise on his "underdog" team for having the belief to upset five-time champions Brazil to reach the World Cup semi-finals for only the second time.

Four years after the drama of Neymar's injury and a humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany on home soil, Brazil were forced back to the drawing board as they followed neighbours Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia in exiting the tournament earlier than hoped.

With those three teams - three of the game's big powers, and three popular picks to win the World Cup before the start of the tournament - out, the road to World Cup glory and soccer immortality feels wide open for the remaining teams.

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, center, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium.

Belgium face France in the semifinals on Tuesday.

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Brazil had chances to get back into the game, notably in the 37th minute when a curling shot from outside the area from Philippe Coutinho was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. They didn't believe in themselves as much as we believe in them. "I will do a general assessment of the match and our campaign, but I won't be making any comments on individuals". In this picture, Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks for a pass while under pressure from James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 30, 2016.

It was a real coming-of-age performance on the worldwide scene for Hazard and he also wrote himself into World Cup folklore in the process. A booking - if he got one for diving - would have ruled him out of the semifinals. At the other end, Costa tested Courtois, but the Belgians were starting to look increasingly comfortable.

After taking a shock 13th minute lead when Hazard's curling corner came off Fernandinho's arm, it was the Brazilian's Manchester City teammate De Bruyne who struck hardest.

They go out with their heads held high, though, after leaving everything on the pitch as they chased an equaliser in the last 14 minutes of the match in the wake of substitute Renato Augusto's fine headed goal. "This is something special".

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