Belgium beat Japan 3-2 to reach quarter-finals

03 July, 2018, 00:18 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Japan squeezed into the last 16

Belgium showed their fighting qualities as Nacer Chadli's 94th-minute strike completed a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Japan in their World Cup last-16 clash in Rostov.

Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui scored stunners as Japan looked set to reach the first World Cup quarter-final in their history.

With Japan pressing for a victor, Belgium broke free in injury time and striker Romelu Lukaku dummied for the ball to run free to Chadli who slammed home the last-gasp victor.

Brazil booked their place in the quarter-finals earlier in the day when Neymar inspired Tite's men to a 2-0 win.

The European side enjoyed more possession and attacking opportunities in the first half.

The last 10 minutes of Japan's final group game against Poland were nothing short of farcical.

More news: LeBron James, step by step to Los Angeles Lakers-Fri Jun 22

A long-range shot from Eden Hazard was Belgium's brightest chance in the first 45 minutes as Japan kept close tabs on Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

Tied at 2-2 in stoppage time, Belgium stopped a corner kick from Japan in the 94th minute, with keeper Thibaut Courtois rolling the ball out to midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who began the counter-attack. Although it was Japan who almost took the lead right before the break, when Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois fumbled a save on an effort from Yuto Nagatomo, almost allowing the ball to roll into his own goal.

Japan (4-2-3-1): Kawashima; Sakai, Shoji, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Shibasaki; Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui; Osako.

Then Belgium drew level when Hazard's pin-point ball found Fellaini in the middle and the Manchester United midfielder unleashed an unstoppable header on 74 minutes.

Chaldi, who came on as a substitute in the 65th, decided it in injury time.

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