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Belgium reached quarterfinals, Belgium 3-2 Japan, World Cup 2018

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Belgium pulled it off just in right time

What a match, I’ll have to admit it’s the match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 so far. Belgium vs Japan, no would have thought the way it unfolds, but finally Belgium pulled it off just in right time. Nacer Chadli scored the winner for Belgium in last seconds of the game to deny Japan creating another history at Rostov Arena.

Japan would have never thought that it’s going to be an even match. Belgium boss Roberto Martinez wouldn’t have thought about Japan pulling a shock, and yet his side was lucky to pull a whisker in the last second of the game against the Asian giant.

The favourite Belgium must have realized after the match that winning Group G was a mistake. They’d have been much better finishing runners-up. Japan took them by complete surprise momentarily in second-half when Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui scored in quick succession to give Japan 2-0 lead.

Belgium dominated the game in first-half after Japan’s initial minutes into the game and they’re expected to dominate the game in second-half as well. But two quick transactions in the second-half from Japan, and they were 2-0 up. First Haraguchi produced his moment, and then Inui scored a cracker of a goal which you’d have expected from Kevin de Bruyne or Eden Hazard.

Hazard has his moment when he hit the bar, but his threat was almost contained by hard working Japanese players. The technical superiority didn’t work for Red Devils today and they’re on back-foot. It took two tactical changes from Roberto Martinez, who realized late that he can only beat Japan today with the physical play. He put in Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli as substitutes and both proved influential scoring goals for Belgium to hand them 3-2 victory coming from behind.

Former Tottenham Hotspur captain shows his leadership skill as he brought Belgium back into the game with his brilliant header in 69th minute. It opened the door for Red Devils as they grasped that they could beat Japan in air due to their genetically shorter player.

It opened the door and five minutes later, Fellaini equalized brilliantly with his trademark header goal. No Japanese player were good enough to mark him who is always a threat when he is inside the penalty area. Hazad created space on left to cross the brilliant ball and with Fellaini inside the penalty area, you always expect him to pull the strings.

Japan could have had their third if they’d have been more clinical in the last quarter of the game as they were in first-quarter of second-half. Honda, Haraguchi, and Osako tested Courtois well in the last quarter of the game, but Courtois was alert on those occasions to deny Japan any opportunity.

Belgium knew that they’re destined to play quarter-finals and it pays in the final seconds of the game. A quick counter-attack followed as Japan lose ball in their own half after successive corners, Thomas Meunier launched a quick counter-attack playing the ball to Lukaku, but Belgian centre-forward left the ball for on rushing Chadli. Chadli didn’t make the mistake in pressure situation and gave Belgian the much needed victory just in time. When it looked like it will go to extra-time and penalties, Chadli pulled it off for Belgium just in time.

Belgium will face Brazil in quarterfinals who won their last 16 game 2-0 impressively against Mexico. It will be a cracker of a game on July 6, at Kazan Arena.

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