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Belgium stuns Japan in added time

03 July, 2018, 00:18 | Author: Hannah Francis
  • Belgium's Eden Hazard Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne

Any of them. But, says Roberto Martinez, that's been the advantage of coaching the Belgians, to whom he speaks "the language of football".

Highly-touted Belgium enter their round of 16 tie with Japan knowing that a win will likely set up a quarter-final date with Brazil, but will Japan be the latest team to upset the odds in what has been a World Cup full of shocks?

The Tottenham star now has the distinction of scoring the longest-ranged header in World Cup history, scoring from 18.6m.

Having led 2-0, the Samurai Blue conceded three goals with the last one coming deep into injury time.

Japan got closest to a goal in a boring first half when Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois let the ball slip from his hands and between his legs but recovered before it crossed the line.




As his defence started to tire, goalkeeper Kawashima kept Japan in the game his side with two saves in quick succession to deny Chadli and Lukaku. Inui headed at Courtois, who shortly after allowed a deflection by Yuya Osako through his legs before recovering, although replays showed the striker was probably offside.

The Japanese were ahead soon after the break, though, when Haraguchi beat the offside trap and ran into the area to beat Courtois with a cross-shot in the 48th minute.

Vertonghen made amends for his error in the 69th minute, looping a header into the net to give his team hope.

Belgium looked visibly rattled despite Eden Hazard hitting the post nearly immediately in an attempt to draw the Red Devils level.

Courtois had to look sharp to parry what would have been an own goal by Axel Witsel and then save a Keisuke Honda free-kick.

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