The Belgians had been put in the bracket of dark horses prior to the action getting underway in Russian Federation this summer, due to their lack of global pedigree despite the wealth of Premier League talent at Roberto Martinez's disposal.
Roberto Martinez was left bursting with pride after praising his Belgium players for executing his tactical plan in their World Cup semi-final win over Brazil.
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.
"For me, Brazil are the best team in the tournament and without a doubt the biggest threat from open play".
"It was a big call to bring Marouane Fellaini back, but he stuck to his job so the system was ideal. Wherever I play, I have to contribute", De Bruyne said. "When you say we play in a certain way, as a player you need to courageous to accept it".
France's Raphael Varane, right, is challenged by Uruguay's Cristhian Stuani during the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and France at the 2018 World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, July 6, 2018.More news: The unintended consequences of Trump’s trade war with China
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Martinez's men put that to bed in style in Kazan, though, matching Belgium's previous best World Cup run when they reached the last four in 1986.
The star forward now sitting in no man's land - demanding a trade from the Spurs while locked into his contract for at least one more season (he can opt out after the 2018-19 season) - started physically distancing himself from the team much earlier this year.
The other one was the humiliating 7-1 defeat to eventual champ Germany four years ago on home soil.
"Romelu [Lukaku] and Eden [Hazard] changed position they tried to create many opportunities with Marcelo on the flank".
"But I think the feeling I hate the most is Fernandinho, he basically lost the game for us".
"It's not easy to play Brazil, they are a wonderful team", De Bruyne said.
Either England or Sweden will face either Russian Federation or Croatia in the other semifinal match on Wednesday in Moscow - a day after Belgium plays France in St. Petersburg.