Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Belgium defeat Japan 3-2 to reach quarter-finals

Belgium v Japan World Cup preview: Belgium vs Japan
| 03 July, 2018, 00:43

Belgium don't appear scared of what's ahead.

Lukaku will look to add to his group-stage tally of four goals against a Japan defense conceding more than a goal per game. What Japan did got them to the round of 16, as the sole representative from Asia. It could even be that this team now finally have the experience and confidence to take on anyone. Used possession well in the biggest game of his career to date, though perhaps should have been a little more aggressive as Belgium came back.

Belgium should have a refreshed starting XI after they rested nine players in their final group game against England having already qualified with convincing victories over Panama and Tunisia. Just ask holders Germany.

Belgium scored three times in the final 20 minutes to complete a stunning 3-2 win against Japan and to set up a mouth-watering clash against Brazil in the quarter-finals.

"It will definitely be a hard match". Japan will play their own game, not looking to contain and counter but passing intelligently and using quick movements from the front players to forge chances. "We have nothing to lose".

According to oddsmakers, Belgium is a -282 favorite on the moneyline.

Belgium finally found their first right before the 70-minute mark when Vertonghen headed a poor clearance from the Japanese defence that looped over goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and somehow found the back of the net. Belgium has still not gotten past the quarterfinals with this squad with losses to Argentina and Wales in 2014 and 2016, respectively. That team, featuring Enzo Scifo and Jan Ceulemans, would finish fourth at Mexico '86.


Here are the possible players who can be part of Japan team today.

"This Japan team shows there is a generation with a very good age".

"We have a lot of respect for this team, and we don't think we are going to win this one easily".

"We have been here twice in the past in round of 16 but this is different, we haven't exhausted ourselves yet so we can create a new opportunity", Nishino told a news conference on Sunday.

Belgium, on the other hand, still have plenty to prove.

Martinez's side defeated Japan 1-0 in a home friendly last November after a goal by Romelu Lukaku, who has claimed four in Russian Federation with two against both Tunisia and Panama in the group stages.

Among the pre-tournament favourites in Russia, Eden Hazard and the Belgians march on to a last-eight meeting with Brazil.

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