World Cup: Belgium Survives Japan Scare, Wins 3:2

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World Cup: Belgium Survives Japan Scare, Wins 3:2

Belgium looked like they were surely on their way out when Japan scored the first two goals of the match in about 7 minutes of the resumption of the second half. This was after the first half ended goalless.

Having played a goalless first half, the Japanese came in and shocked the Belgians with two quick goals. The first was scored in the 48 minute by Haraguchi. Inui followed 4 minutes later with the second, stunning Belgians and the rest of the world.

Belgium had to quickly get themselves organized and were able to pull one back in the 69th minute through Vertonghen. Fellaini who came in as a substitute got the second in the 74th minute and Chadli who also came in as a substitute go the winner in the 4th minute of additional time.

It was a stunning come back for the Belgians and a heart breaking loss for the Japanese.

After the match, the Japanese Coach, Akira Nishino said “We wanted to win it. Our team is strong enough and against Belgium we could at least match them, I believed. There were different plans in my mind and of course we started off very well but at the end, right at the end, to have conceded a goal like that was not expected.

“When we were 2-0 up and I didn’t change my players, I really wanted to score another goal and we did have opportunities. We were to some extent, controlling the ball and controlling the game, but at that point, Belgium upped their game when they really had to.

At that point, when the free-kick and corner-kick were taken, we wanted to decide and finish the match. Of course at that point I thought we might go to extra-time but I did not expect that kind of super counter-attack and my players didn’t expect that in a few seconds the ball would be carried into our half and it would decide the match.”

Eden Hazard who was voted man of the match said “We were thinking it was going to be like two years ago against Wales [at UEFA EURO 2016], but we were also thinking if we can score goals the game is on. We have players that can change a game, we brought players from the bench who made the difference, so today we are just happy to have won and have gone through to the quarter-finals.

“The reaction we showed today was great and maybe it is this type of match we needed for the future as we could have been eliminated but we are into the quarter-finals. When it comes to the match on Friday, it is going to be magnificent because playing against Brazil is always amazing as a football player. We are going to rest really well and going to really try to win that match.”

Belgium will now take on Brazil in the quarter finals on the 6th of July.

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