Belgium are through to the World Cup Quarter Final after a last gasp win over Japan.
Belgium will go on to face Brazil in the next round after beating Japan 3-2. The first half was quiet but the game came to life in the second half when Japan opened the scoring after Genki Haraguchi was played in behind and fired the ball past Courtois. They extended their lead just four minutes later when Takeshi Inui picked the ball up around 25 yards out and rifled it into the far corner.
Belgium needed a goal to get back into the game and it was a fortuitous moment that brought it. The ball went high into the air following a corner and dropped to Jan Vertonghen on the left hand side around 18 yards out, he looked to be heading the ball across goal but it looped over the keeper and into the net.
Belgium levelled the game through a Marouane Fellaini header before winning it with a blistering counter attack. Thibaut Courtois caught the ball from a corner and set Belgium away on the counter attack, they worked the ball to Thomas Meunier on the right and his low ball was left by Romelu Lukaku and finished by Nacer Chadli at the far post to win the game.
Five things we learned:
What a game!
This game can easily be considered one of the best games of the tournament so far, it had goals, intriguing tactical battles and obviously an excellent comeback. Japan looked to be providing the next shock of the tournament as they went 2-0 up, but they couldn't hold on and Belgium managed to level the game up before a blistering counter attack in the last minute won them the game. It was thrilling and was the kind of match that any football fan would be happy to watch.
Japan may have lost the game but they have won themselves plenty of fans with their attitude and performance. Japan put up plenty of fight and only a spirited Belgian comeback denied them their first ever World Cup Quarter Final. Tactically Japan were spot on and their hard work did not go unnoticed, plenty of fans felt for Japan at the final whistle and they themselves will certainly feel hard done by.
When Japan went 2-0 up Belgium were struggling to get any rhythm going and looked to be heading for the World Cup exit door. They needed a moment to get the going and to say the goal that did it was fortuitous is not unfair. The ball went high up to Jan Vertonghen wide in the area around 18 yards out and he appeared to try and head the ball back across goal but it looped over the goalkeeper and into the net at the back post. Although the goal was lucky it was certainly memorable and as it also brought Belgium back into the game it will definitely be remembered by their fans at least.
Belgium may not have performed at the level they would like for much of the game, and there is certainly no doubting their individual ability, but their team ethic had been questioned and it was definitely tested today. A comeback from 2-0 down is always impressive but with 35 minutes to save their World Cup it is even more so and going forward you sense they will need to recreate the spirit they showed in that game.
Brazil v Belgium:
Next up for Belgium is a Quarter Final against Brazil and to say the game looks promising is an understatement. Both sides have brilliant attacking talent and can easily score plenty of goals, if the game lives up to expectation we will be in for a real treat.