Belgium stuns Japan in added time

World Cup 2018 Round Of 16 Preview Belgium vs Japan Belgium Look To Continue Fine Run Japan Aim To Make History

Ex-England worldwide Phil Neville described Japan and Poland's approach as "disgraceful", but coach Akira Nishino's senior players defended the tactic. Japan also has talented and experienced attacking players in former Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa and the hugely popular Keisuke Honda. "There won't be any big surprises".

Fox Sports said the last time a team rallied from a two-goal deficit in a knockout game was 1970 when Germany defeated England. The Manchester City skipper has not played a single minute in the cup but has the backing of the management to feature during the crucial knock out phase of the World Cup.

Belgium are a star studded team who will want to reach the quarterfinal without much trouble, while Japan are there to prove a tough nut to crack. Japanese football is really strong and we expect a really competitive game.

"[After] the first and second matches, I actually had a chat with him, personally. We have to fight and defend as a group and attack as a group".

Lukaku has been highlighted as the chief threat of the Red Devils against a Japan backline that could struggle to cope with the pace and power of the in-form 25-year-old during the round-of-16 tie. "What is important is to progress and to reach the quarter-finals". Only introduced as a second-half substitute in the loss to Poland, his directness was badly missed early in the match in Volgograd.

Lukaku nearly snatched the victor for Belgium five minutes before time with a free header inside the box but Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima produced a spectacular save. "Belgium are a better team than us", Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo said in an interview with FIFA.com. But they haven't truly established themselves as a burgeoning power since then, with their loss to Wales at the Euros becoming emblematic of this generation's Belgium: a supremely talented squad that can't be relied upon when it counts. As of the end of the group stages, only Spain were on a longer run amongst the 32 teams at the 2018 World Cup (23 games).

After a goalless first half, Belgium captain Marc Wilmots gave his side the lead in the 57th minute with a brilliant overhead kick - only for Japan to equalise just two minutes later, as Takayuki Suzuki capitalised on a misjudgement by Jacky Peeters to prod the ball home.

The way Japan qualified - playing out a farcical ending as they lost 1-0 to Poland in their final group game - left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans.

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