After disappointing quarter-final exits in their last two major tournaments, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has instilled some self-belief in an outstandingly talented generation of players that seemed to have been missing in the past.
Brazil's third change yielded a goal three minutes and 14 seconds after his introduction, Augusto gliding between two static Belgium defenders to nod a flicked header past Courtois from a sublime Coutinho cross.
Man-of-the-match De Bruyne said his team had passed a "test of character" in the closing 15 minutes as Brazil peppered the goal but were unable to find an equaliser.
Belgium have sent football World Cup heavyweights Brazil home with stunning 2-1 win in Kazan.
That freed De Bruyne to play in a more advanced role and the City midfielder revelled in the space Brazil continually gave him. The pain of Belgium's defeat by the same opponents in the Round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup enhances the joy of reaching the semi-finals in Russian Federation that little bit further.
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"Now we need more energy for the next game, " Martinez said, "so let's make sure that we're all together and we're all driving each other to be as good as we can.in the semifinal".
Brazil and Belgium will clash in Kazan for a place in the World Cup semi-finals and much of the attention will be on the world's most expensive player.
Trailing for the first time in the World Cup, a focused Seleção came out in the second looking determined to get on the scoreboard.
Belgium then scored from their first corner of the game in the 13th minute. We had to be courageous tactically and to do that in a World Cup, the players have to believe.
Belgium are unbeaten in 23 games, while Brazil have lost only one of their 25 games under coach Tite.
Their only previous World Cup encounter was in the round of 16 in 2002.
Brazil's last chance to save their season came at the 94th minute, when the club's star winger Neymar curled what looked to be the equalizer into the top corner.
"I think Neymar in the future will be the best in the world and I'm happy to be playing against him for the second time".