Belgium's forward Eden Hazard (L) and Belgium's midfielder Axel Witsel celebrate their win during the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Brazil and Belgium at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on July 6, 2018.
Belgium beat World Cup favourites Brazil 2-1 on Friday to set up a semi-final against France in Saint Petersburg. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS
2018 FIFA World Cup | Hazard And Others At The QuarterFfinals
The quarter-finals saw many great performances with the likes of Belgium, France, and England going through to the semi-finals. Although some stars flopped, most of them lived up to their billing.
Eden Hazard shone for Belgium as he led them from the front with an extraordinary performance. Surprisingly, goalkeepers took away the limelight as Thibaut Courtois and Jordan Pickford were also exceptional.
We have a look at the top five performers from the quarter-finals.
Eden Hazard, Belgium
Hazard has silenced all his critics at this World Cup, giving man-of-the-match performances one after the other. While players like Lukaku and De Bryune took away all the limelight, It is Hazard who has carried Belgium to the semis.
|Belgium’s forward Eden Hazard (R) vies for the ball with Brazil’s forward Willian
He was exceptional once again versus Brazil as he gave the assist for Belgium’s opening goal and won a staggering 20 duels. He completed 9 dribbles and was the chief orchestrator in the middle of the pitch for Belgium.
Raphael Varane, France
Raphael Varane is having a great World Cup as he has led the French defense from the front. He was touted as the next big thing in football, and what better stage than the World Cup to justify this tag.
|Raphael Varane celebrates his goal with Antoine Griezmann
Not only did he help France keep a clean sheet, he also scored their opening goal against Uruguay. France won 2-0 and cruised through to the next round and Varane deserves a lot of credit for that, as he was monumental both in attack and defense.
Jordan Pickford, England
There were many questions over England’s number one choice goalkeeper before the start of the World Cup. As Southgate chose Pickford over Stoke City’s Jack Butland, many people had their doubts.
|England’s Jordan Pickford makes a last-ditch save against Sweden
With his stellar performance against Sweden, Pickford has successfully cleared all the doubts. He made three exceptional saves to deny Sweden. If not for him, Sweden would have easily taken the game into extra-time.
Luka Modric, Croatia
Modric is the only player competing with Eden Hazard for the golden ball. Just like Hazard, he has given man of the match performances, one after the other.
He bossed the midfield once again versus Russia as Croatia won 4-3 on penalties. He converted from the spot yet again as Croatia reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1998.
He gave the assist for Croatia’s second goal in the extra-time, Made 15 ball recoveries, won 14 duels and completed 90 passes. The numbers don’t lie, he was phenomenal.
Thibaut Courtois, Belgium
It was difficult to keep De Bryune out of this list, but that’s how good Thibaut Courtois was against Brazil. He made a staggering nine saves and he had to go the full stretch for most of them.
Neymar was all set to equalise for Brazil around the 90th minute but Courtois came to Belgium’s rescue yet again as he got his finger-tips to the ball. Just like Pickford, Courtois was the key man for Belgium. If not for him, Brazil might have won the match easily.
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