Belgium came back from two goals down to win an extraordinary game, and a place in the quarter-finals, with two seconds of stoppage time to play.
Belgium Edge Japan 3-2, To Play Brazil In Quarter-Finals.
When Belgium and Japan faced off in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup, most expected it to be a one-sided game. After all, the Belgians were on the rampage and Japan had barely made it out of the group stage. In fact many fans would have expected another drab encounter like Spain vs Russia or Croatia vs Denmark.
After Two Drab Games, Belgium Vs Japan Had Everything We Wanted In A Football Match And Fans Loved It.
Well they got just the opposite. In less than an hour, Japan were leading 2-0 and an upset looked on the cards. But Belgium fought back to make it 2-2 and then in stoppage time sank Japan hearts with the winner. The match had everything – tension, drama, surprises and eventually a nail-biting finish. Obviously fans could not stop going made over it and the internet was buzzing non-stop:
Though Japan lost the game, this match is a wonderful answer to the people who thought Japan is a weak team. What a wonderful game. Excellent and exciting performance from the both teams #BELJPN
— शुभेच्छा थापा (@_Shuvekshya_) July 2, 2018
So heart broken for Japan 💔 .. they almost made the fairy tale come true .. total respect 🙏 A fluke, height difference and then ambition did the underdogs spirited fight in.. hold your heads high #BELJPN pic.twitter.com/9qZ32kZWoe
— Randeep Hooda (@RandeepHooda) July 2, 2018
As dawn broke in Tokyo, Japan fans had dared to believe their team was about to make World Cup history. But a few short minutes later, the dream was over.
At a bar in a Tokyo business district, the air went out of the room as Belgium found the net in extra time, scoring a third goal to seal Japan’s fate.
Just a short while earlier, whoops of joy had filled the pub in Tokyo’s Shinagawa district as the Blue Samurai scored a second goal, defying expectations to go 2-0 up over star-studded Belgium.
But when the final whistle went with Belgium winning 3-2 to end Japan’s latest shot at World Cup history, fans sat in virtual silence, staring in disbelief at the screen.
Belgium has put a good amount of pressure on Japan’s defense, getting off 10 shots in the first half, but Japan, which sits 58 sports behind Belgium in the FIFA world rankings, has held its own.
Given to Japan’s Gaku Shibasaki, who tripped up Eden Hazard, in the 39th minute.
Even play so far
Belgium is the heavy favorite against Japan, but midway through the first half, Japan is hanging in there. The two teams have split the possession 51-49, narrowly favored in Japan’s direction; Japan managed to take two shots, compared to Belgium’s one. Those aren’t the only similar numbers: Both teams’ passing accuracy is 85 percent and both teams committed three fouls in the early going.
Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku sat out of Belgium’s group stage finale against England with minor injuries but are back in the starting lineup for the round of 16.
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