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Brazil, the overwhelming favorite to win the World Cup, has been knocked out, and now the tournament is wide open

Neymar looking anguished during Brazil's World Cup quarter-finals match against Belgium.
Neymar looking anguished during Brazil's World Cup quarter-finals match against Belgium. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
  • Brazil, the heavy favorite to win the World Cup, just lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals.
  • This has been a World Cup of upsets, with traditional powers like Spain and Germany also getting eliminated early.
  • With two matches to play until the semifinals, it feels like the tournament is wide open.

Brazil, who entered this year's World Cup as one of the overwhelming favorites to win the World Cup, have now been eliminated following a 2-1 loss in the quarter-finals to Belgium.

It's the latest surprise in a tournament full of upsets, which has included Spain's shocking loss to Russia in the knockout rounds and, even more surprisingly, Germany crashing out of the group stage.

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.

Of the remaining teams, France, another popular pick to win it all at the outset, is likely the new favorite. But Belgium has looked good as well, and could be primed to capitalize on its golden generation of players. Or maybe this is year that England finally, finally, wins another major international tournament.

For Brazil, meanwhile, this loss will really sting, given they probably deserved to win the match on balance, edging out Belgium in terms of possession and the number of shots on target, with nine to Belgium's three, according to FIFA's match statistics. And then there's this.

Brazil went down two goals in the first half, the first goal coming as an own goal off of midfielder Fernandinho following a corner kick. The second came off a terrific shot from Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne from around the edge of the penalty box into the far post (set up by a terrific run from Romelu Lukaku).

Brazil had a couple of big chances to tie the match late in the second half, but Coutinho could not convert a good look on goal in the eighty-fourth minute, and Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois later came up with an incredible save in extra time to secure the win.

Now, Belgium and France are set to play a semifinal match next Tuesday. The other semifinal will be played on Wednesday between the winners of England-Sweden and Croatia-Russia.

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