Belgium beat Japan 3-2 in FIFA World Cup 2018 pre-quarters, face Brazil next

Belgium become the first team to come back from two goals down to win a match in the knockout stages since 1970 (West Germany 3-2 England quarterfinals).

Belgium beat Japan 3-2 in FIFA World Cup 2018 pre-quarters, face Brazil next
Pic courtesy: IANS

Moscow: What a thrilling finish to a breathtaking match. Japan nearly pulled off another upset after they scored two goals under five minutes in the second-half but the West Europeans regrouped to come back into the match after a masterstroke by coach Roberto Martinez, who substituted Fellaini and Chadli (both ended up scoring). Belgium become the first team to come back from two goals down to win a match in the knockout stages since 1970 (West Germany 3-2 England quarterfinals). It is the end of the road for the spirited Asian side in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Belgium will take on Brazil in the quarterfinals. 

Follow the match updates here:

 

 

Belgium 3-1 Japan!!

FULL-TIME!!

Belgium 3-2 Japan!!

90+4 minute: GOAL!!! BELGIUM take the lead. What a Stunning counter-attack by Belgium’s De Bruyne who passes the ball the Meunier and the latter shoots a cross to find Chadli, who seals the match for Belgium. 

90+3 minute: Free-kick to Japan. Honda gears up to take it. Honda struck a brilliant shot but the Belgium goalkeeper leaps to his left to send the ball to the corner. 

90+1 minute: Corner for Japan. The Belgium defenders clear the ball to safety. 

4 minutes of Stoppage time!

3 minutes to go!

86 minute: SAVED!! Brilliant save by Japan's Kawashima, who taps away a dangerous header from Lukaku. That was close. 

81 minute: Substitution for Japan, K. Honda is in for G. Haraguchi and Shibasaki is replaced by H. Yamaguchi. 

 

 

Belgium 2-2 Japan!!

74 minute: GOAL!!! Hazard whips the ball into the middle and Fellaini nets the ball with his header. Belgium equalise!!

72 minute: Belgium's  De Bruyne attempts a shot from distance but the ball takes a deflection off a Japanese player. Corner for Belgium. This could be dangerous.  

Japan 2-1 Belgium!!

69 minute: GOAL!!!  Sloppy defending by Japan and Belgium's Vertonghen makes the most of it by heading the ball past the goalkeeper. Belgium have 20 minutes to equalise now, what a match this is turning out to be. 

Interestingly, no team has staged a comeback after going down by two goals in the knockout stages since 1970 when West Germany came back to win 3-2 against England in the quarterfinals. 

65 minute:  Substitution for Belgium, Chadli replaces Carrasco. 

62 minute: MISS!! Belgium's Lukaku fails to hit the target as he heads the ball wide. That was close and a rare miss from Lukaku. 

60 minute: Corner for Japan. The Belgium defence clear the ball to safety. Japan are on a dream run here, stunning Belgium with two goals. Yet another upset on the cards? 

Japan 2-0 Belgium!!

52 minute: GOAL!!! Inui scores a stunner into the right corner from distance. Japan are nearly there. 

50 minute: MISS!! Belgium's Hazard picks up a pass in the middle but his curling shot hits the crossbar. What an effort. 

Japan 1-0 Belgium!

49 minute: GOAL!!! Haraguchi fires a shot right across the Belgium goal. What a goal. Japan take the lead. 

Second-half is underway!

 

 

Belgium 0-0 Japan! 

Half-time!

44 minute: MISS!! Japan's Nagatomo fires a bullet towards the Belgium goalkeeper who plunges on to the ball after a fumble. That was close. 

40 minute: Yellow card! Japan's Shibasaki gets booked for a challenge on Hazard. Free-kick to Belgium. 

36 minute:  Belgium's Hazard creates space in the Japanese box and attempts a shot but it gets blocked by Japan's Yoshida. 

31 minute: That was close. Japan's Inui rises to head the ball towards the Belgium goal but hits it directly into the hands of keeper Courtois. 

26 minute: MISS!! Belgium's Mertens makes a brilliant cross to find Lukaku in the close range but Lukaku fails to capitalise. That was close. 

21 minute: Belgium's Lukaku picks up a pass outside the box but his shot gets blocked by a Japanese defender. Corner for Belgium.

17 minute: Corner for Belgium. De Bruyne finds Kompany in the close range, the latter attempts a volley but fails to direct the ball towards the target. 

15 minute: Belgium's Hazard sprints into the Japanese half but gets cramped for space and a Japan defender clears the ball away. 

9 minute: Excellent curling chip shot from Japan's Inui into the middle but Belgium's Kompany heads the ball to safety

4 minute: Free-kick to Belgium as Hazard goes down after a challenge from H. Sakai. Short pass by De Bruyne but Japan intercept. 

2 minute: MISS!! Japan's Kagawa finds space right outside Belgium's penalty box but fires the ball wide. That was close. 

Kick-off!

 

 

Lineups

Belgium XI: Courtois (GK); Meunier, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Witsel, De Bruyne, Carrasco; Mertens, E. Hazard (C), Lukaku.

Japan XI: Kawashima (GK); H. Sakai, Shoji, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Hasebe (C), Shibasaki, Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui, Osako.

Belgium are unbeaten in their last 22-matches and will go in as favourites against Japan, the only Asian side in the second round. Belgium won all three of their group D matches (3-0 Panama, 5-2 Tunisia and 1-0 over England). Japan, on the other hand, qualified for the round of 16 with an impressive 3-2 win over Colombia and a 2-2 draw against Senegal. 

Both the sides met only once in the history of the World Cup, in the 2002 edition. The group stage match had ended in a 2-2 draw. 

Squads:

Belgium:

Goalkeepers- Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet.

Defenders- Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Leander Dendoncker, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen.

Midfielders- Yannick Carrasco, Nacer Chadli, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel.

Forwards- Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens.

Japan:

Goalkeepers- Elji Kawashima, Masaaki Higashiguchi, Kosuke Nakamura. 

Defenders- Yuto Nagatomo, Tomoaki Makino, Wataru Endo, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Gotoku Sakai, Gen Shoji, Naomichi Ueda.

Midfielders- Makoto Hasebe, Keisuke Honda, Takashi Inui, Shinji Kagawa, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Genki Haraguchi, Takashi Usami, Gaku Shibasaki, Ryota Oshima. 

Forwards- Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Osako, Yoshinori Muto. 

(With Agency inputs)

 

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