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Belgium were frustrated by United States in normal time but goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku sent them to the World Cup's last eight for the first time since 1986

By Mark Doyle in Salvador

Marc Wilmots paid tribute to the effort and persistence of his Belgium players after they recorded what he called an "historic" victory over United States at Arena Fonte Nova on Tuesday.

The Rode Duivels were frustrated by their dogged opponents in normal time but goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku settled matters in extra time, despite Julian Green's acrobatic consolation.

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The victory sees the European side advance to the last eight of a World Cup for the first time since 1986 and, after the match, Wilmots was in euphoric mood.

"The whole country can celebrate. This is historic," he told reporters.

"We took the game to them. We had maybe 15 chances. The only thing I can say is we didn't finish them off.

"[The victory] was largely deserved even though we were on tenterhooks at the end. The players went right to the limit."

Wilmots' decision to replace Divock Origi with Lukaku at the start of extra time proved decisive and the former Standard Liege midfielder revealed that he gave the Chelsea striker words of encouragement prior to the change.

He added: "I said to Lukaku that he could make the difference with a bit of room."

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