Belgium beat Japan at the death in last 16 thriller

May JohnsonJul 03, 2018

A last-minute goal Nacer Chadli capped a remarkable fightback for Belgium as they dumped Japan out of the World Cup in thrilling, not to mention historic, fashion .

The first side to recover from a 2-goal deficit to win a World Cup knockout match since Germany beat England 3-2 after extra time in Mexico in 1970, Belgium were run ragged by a Japan side solid in defense and willing to probe deep. Hanover's new signing at first hesitated on the right of the area before his angled shot went past Thibaut Courtois in goal.

Then Belgium drew level when Hazard's pin-point ball found Fellaini in the middle and the Manchester United midfielder unleashed an unstoppable header on 74 minutes.

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

Fellaini headed home Hazard's cross off a corner, and as Japan exhausted, the Red Devils began to dominate.

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Poor Akira Nishino couldn't believe what he had just witnessed.

But when Japan did get forward there were moments of danger for Belgium.

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.

Belgium are looking to reach the quarter-finals for only the second time since 1986, while Japan have never reached the last eight of the tournament, appearing at this stage two times previously.

In stoppage time, Keisuke Honda's 30-metre free-kick was parried away by Courtois.

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