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The stadium that's become the graveyard of World Cup giants


Brazil’s World Cup came to a premature end on Friday, when the five-time winner was eliminated from the competition following a 2-1 loss to a talented Belgium side at Kazan Arena. It was a spirited display from Brazil, which managed to pull a goal back after going 2-0 down in the first half, and nearly equalized in the dying moments when Neymar forced a fingertip save from Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

But the equalizer that would’ve taken the match to extra time was never forthcoming, and with Belgium now through to the semifinals, Brazil is headed home without adding a sixth World Cup to its trophy cabinet.

Brazil’s forward Neymar reacts at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Brazil and Belgium at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on July 6, 2018. (Getty Images)

As disheartening as the loss is for Brazil, Neymar and Co. are in good company, in a manner of speaking.

Host to six matches at the 2018 World Cup, Kazan Arena is the same stadium where Brazil’s fellow perennial World Cup favorites, Germany and Argentina were eliminated from the tournament this summer.

Argentina lost its Round of 16 clash with France at the ground, which is the home stadium for Russian Premier League side, Rubin Kazan. Germany meanwhile, has handed a 2-0 defeat at the stadium on the final matchday of group play, which ended its title defense in the first round.

Brazil has now followed the other two World Cup giants out of the tournament, resulting in a historic first that will see a World Cup semifinal round without Germany, Argentina or Brazil taking part.

Belgium will continue its World Cup campaign on Tuesday when it meets France in the semis. Luckily for the Belgians or anyone else who might be considered a favorite at this point, Friday’s match was the last one that will be played at Kazan Arena in this World Cup.

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