Livescore: Result of Belgium vs Japan

03 July, 2018, 00:40 | Author: Virgil Todd
  • Belgium v Japan

Romelu Lukaku is also back as the central striker, with coach Roberto Martinez recalling his biggest name players after fielding practically a reserve team in their 1-0 win over England in their final Group G game. 'They know how to hurt you in a counter-attack'.

Japan looked to be heading for the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

Nearly immediately Eden Hazard struck the post for Belgium, but in their next attack Japan doubled their score, when Shinji Kagawa back-heeled to Inui on the edge of the area, and he had time to tee up a shot inside the keeper's left post.

Japan is the last remaining team in the World Cup not from Europe or South America.

"The so-called "golden generation" weren't playing, only a few, and there were young players that showed they're ready to contribute", he said of his much-changed team.

"We have never got to the quarter-final before", the defender said.

The Manchester United star is set to face Japan after missing the win over England with an ankle knock. The strength, pace and clinical finishing of Lukaku could terrorise Japan's suspect defence. Only introduced as a second-half substitute in the loss to Poland, his directness was badly missed early in the match in Volgograd.

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.

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Both teams fought a tight midfield battle but their forwards froze in the area and Belgium's wide players, Meunier and Yannick Carrasco, did not take risks going forward, effectively turning a 3-4-3 formation into a more conservative 5-2-3 system.

It is the first big competitive test of Martinez's two years of trying to turn a "golden generation" of individual talents with big egos at club level into a national side which can finally live up to its top-five Federation Internationale de Football Association world ranking.

So Sunday's game against Belgium is a chance for them to restore some credit.

Belgium entered the tournament as one of the favorites. It may be because they breezed through the group stage.

The two sides have met once before at a World Cup, when Japan co-hosted the tournament in 2002.

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.

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