Confident Belgium wary of Japan threat

Tyler Owen
July 3, 2018

Substitute Nacer Chadli scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Belgium came from two goals down to defeat Japan 3-2 and set up a quarter-final match against Brazil at the World Cup.

Japan may well have conceded more than four goals overall, but played nearly the entire game with an extra man in a 2-1 win against Colombia, which had a player sent off in the third minute.

Getty Romelu Lukaku rejoins the lineup as Belgium take on Japan.

But a side who scraped through the group phase only by virtue of receiving fewer yellow cards than Senegal were finally undone in the final quarter of the game.

Kick-off is 7pm Nigerian time.

However, the Red Devils responded with quick goals of their own as Jan Vertonghen, at fault for Haraguchi's goal, and Marouane Fellaini both scored headers before Chadli's dramatic victor in Rostov.

Here are the possible players who can be part of Belgium team today. After being two goals up, Japan's tournament is over.

Belgium will play Brazil in the quarter finals on Friday (July 6).

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Relieved Belgium manager Roberto Martinez saluted his side's resolve. But make no mistake, this is a mismatch that Belgium should win handily.

Nonetheless, for all the love Belgium have gotten in recent years, they have advanced beyond the quarterfinals only once - and that was back in 1986. Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, the creative minds of the team will also feature from the start and the due could possibly be too hot to handle for the Japanese defense with their pace, trickery and vision.

Japan have impressed so far in Russian Federation with a 2-1 win over Colombia and a 2-2 draw in an entertaining match against Senegal before a 0-1 defeat to Poland. Was swatted aside, however, by Fellaini for Belgium's equaliser but had a good game.

Fellaini then headed in Hazard's cross to level before Chadli converted Thomas Meunier's pass to finish off a flowing move and help the Red Devils avoid being the latest victims of a World Cup of shocks.

After reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1990 and the last four of the European Championship on home soil six years later, a glowing clutch of blooming brilliance was expected to swiftly surpass those near misses and end the mounting years of hurt.

However, it was Japan that took the lead after the interval when Jan Vertonghen failed to cut out a through ball and Genki Haraguchi raced on to fire past Thibaut Courtois.

MF Takashi Inui, 8 - As lively on the left wing as you would expect from Japan's best performer in the group stage, the Spanish-based wide man burst into life early in the second half.

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