FIFA WC: Belgium's 94th-minute winner breaks Japanese hearts

DN Bureau

World No. 3 Belgium edged past Japan in the dying moments of a five-goal thriller at the Rostov Arena, completing a comeback from a two-goal deficit in the round-of-16 of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018.

A still from the match
A still from the match

Rostov-on-Don: World No. 3 Belgium edged past Japan in the dying moments of a five-goal thriller at the Rostov Arena, completing a comeback from a two-goal deficit in the round-of-16 of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018.

Substitute Nacer Chadli scored in the 94th minute of injury time to overturn yet another upset in the World Cup, after the Red Devils had nullified Japan's two-goal lead through Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini, becoming the first team to come from two goals down in a World Cup knockout game since West Germany knocked out England in 1970. The first half of the match was hardly an indicator for what was to come, with a blocked Axel Witsel effort and a stray Vincent Kompany shot from a Kevin de Bruyne cross the only meaningful chances Belgium managed to create.

The first real scare for Belgium in the goalless first half arrived just before the interval when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois spilt a tame Yuya Osako effort, although he managed to gather it before it trickled past the goal line.

The second half saw Japan coming out all guns blazing, scoring two brilliant goals within seven minutes of the restart to give them a real chance of making it to their first-ever World Cup quarter-finals.

The first Japanese goals came from a rapid counter-attack that was initiated from the edge of their box after a Belgian attack broke down, with Genki Haraguchi latching onto a Gaku Shibasaki pass and emphatically driving his shot past Courtois.

With the win, Belgium will face tournament favourites Brazil in the quarterfinals on July 6 in Kazan Arena. (ANI)

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