Japan's fresher legs give them a chance against Belgium: Nishino

03 July, 2018, 00:39 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • Belgium's Eden Hazard Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne

Belgium accomplished the mother of all comebacks on Monday night, rallying from 0-2 down in the second-half to secure a 3-2 win over Japan in their last-16 clash at the Rostov Arena to set up a quarter-final against Brazil.

On the other hand, Japan became the first country in World Cup history to advance to Knockout stages using the Fairplay tie breaker piping Senegal by virtue of having fewer yellow cards with both teams ending on for points.

Kick-off is 7pm Nigerian time.

The center back headed a ball across goal that flew over the head of Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima and nestled into the top corner of the net to make it 2-1 in the 69th minute. Japan had 54 percent of the possession against Poland and fired 10 shots with three being on goal.

Belgium are going through to face Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Instead, it took an altogether less glamorous side, missing talisman Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the final due to injury, to end Portugal's wait by huffing and puffing their way to Euro 2016 glory.

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Japan's captain Makoto Hasebe admitted, "that was a weird feeling, but I think we did everything right". They then beat England with a second-string team, thanks to a brilliant individual goal by Adnan Januzaj, although the Three Lions made eight changes themselves.

Japan, while needing to halt a team on a 22-match unbeaten run, also have the incentive of targeting a World Cup quarter-final place for the first time.

The plan is to play like Japan.

Japan got their tactics spot-on and deservedly took the lead after defending well, pressing Belgium and taking their chances when they came. Japan drew the game against Senegal by 2-2 in the second match, and lost to Poland by 1-0 in the third match.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez left most of his first-choice footballers on the bench for the England match so they could rest and avoid suspensions for the Round-of-16 match. However, it would be far from a surprise if Belgium get their attacking play together against a well-organized but slower side and score several goals. "England will play Colombia and if you start thinking any further than that, you're risking a lot", the former Wigan Athletic and Everton boss claimed.

Keisuke Honda's 30-metre free-kick was parried away by Courtois in stoppage time before the keeper launched the ball to Kevin De Bruyne to make a beeline upfield before finding Meunier, whose cross was met by Chadli for the victor.

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