Belgium vs Japan (FIFA World Cup 2018 LIVE COMMENTARY)

This is the 54th match in the Round of 16 at the FIFA World cup 2018 holding in Moscow, Russia.

Date & Time:
Monday, 2nd July
Belgium and Japan at 7pm.

___SCORE: Belgium 3-2 Japan___

LIVE COMMENTARY:


Thanks for joining our coverage today. Until next time, goodbye.
Belgium have secured a date against Brazil in the quarter-finals, while Japan can return home with their heads held high. We may have just seen one of the best World Cup games of all time!
What a game. Japan looked set for another stunning World Cup shock as they stormed into a 2-0 lead at the start of the second half but Belgium rallied superbly. Roberto Martinez made the changes necessary and got the result he wanted. Heartbreak for Japan, who were superb, and they fall at the round-of-16 stage again.
90′ + 5′ FULL-TIME! BELGIUM 3-2 JAPAN
90′ + 4′ A brilliant attacking move, a goal worthy of winning any game. Belgium have come from two goals behind to lead 3-2!
90′ + 4′ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! BELGIUM LEAD 3-2! What an incredible end to an incredible match! The Red Devils hit on the counter with the last kick of the game. De Bruyne charges through the middle, rolls a ball out wide to Meunier and the low cross is brilliantly left by Lukaku and Chadli has the goal at his mercy.
90′ + 3′ SAVE! Japan hover over an attacking free-kick as they look to snatch a late winner and Honda strikes at goal, again forcing Courtois into action.
90′ + 1′ Four minutes of stoppage time!
90′ SAVE! Japan still have something in them and Witsel deflects a cross towards his own goal, requiring Courtois to dive to the rescue.

87′ SAVE! Kawashima is under seige but he is determined not to be beaten, diving to keep Vertonghen’s effort from distance out.
85′ DOUBLE SAVE! Superb from Kawashima! He dives to prevent Meunier from scoring a header and then tips Lukaku’s own header over the bar moments later.
83′ We have seen plenty of late drama at the World Cup already and the match is there for the taking if a hero emerges. Both teams will be keen to avoid extra time.
81′ The second is the introduction of Yamaguchi, who replaces Shibasaki.
81′ Japan make a double change, introducing Honda for Haraguchi.
80′ Belgium know their advantage can be found in the air, as both goals have been headers, and they are likely to continue to pump the ball into thebox.
78′ The tempo of the game has shifted back into the favour of Belgium and Japan are having to defend with everything they have.
76′ Japan still look dangerous on the counter and still have all three of their substitutions available. Belgium fans are back in full voice but this game is far from decided.
74′ Hazard has had a frustrating evening but he has delivered when it mattered. What a game we are witnessing!
74′ GOOOOOOOAL! 2-2! Belgium equalise! Hazard curls a superb cross into the middle where Fellaini, off the bench, rises above the Japan defence to head home.
72′ The last team to come from two goals down to win a World Cup knockout round match was Germany against England in 1970.
71′ The match is delicately poised for an exciting finale, as Japan look to hold onto their advantage and Belgium look to avoid being the latest nation to suffer a major World Cup shock.
69′ GOAAAAAL! 2-1! Belgium get one back! Japan fail to deal with a corner and Vertonghen loops a superb header over the head of Kawashima and into the far corner. Game on!
68′ Japan have now scored six goals at the 2018 World Cup, more than they have managed at any other tournament.

67′ Belgium’s changes lead to a tactical shake-up, with De Bruyne moving into a more attacking role in front of the holding duo of Fellaini and Witsel.
65′ The second change for the Red Devils is the introduction of Chadli, who takes the place of Carrasco.
65′ Double change for Belgium as they seek to turn the game around, replacing Mertens with Fellaini.
64′ CHANCE! Japan continue to threaten on the counter and Sakai drills a ball into the six-yard box where Courtois gets a crucial touch, before the rebound is deflected behind by a Japan attacker.
62′ WIDE! A huge chance for Lukaku! Meunier curls a cross into the six-yard box where the Manchester United man has acres of room but he heads past the post.
61′ There is still plenty of time for Belgium to turn the game around but they need to change something quickly.
59′ There has been no response from Belgium since falling two behind and Japan look the more likely to score the next goal. Martinez’s side are looking rattled and short of ideas.
57′ Carrasco fires a wayward effort well over the top of the goal, which sums up Belgium in the final third so far this evening.
55′ Belgium face a real test of their character now. Their plan tonight has simply not worked and they have not done enough to truly test Japan. Kawashima is yet to be forced into a testing save.
54′ A really bad omen for Belgium -Belgium have won just two of their 20 World Cup games in which they’ve conceded the first goal (L17 D1).
52′ Kagawa’s pass for Inui invited the shot and he obliged. Japan are in dreamland!
52′ GOOOOOAL! Unbelievable! Japan lead 2-0! Kagawa collects the ball on the edge of the box and pokes a pass back to Inui, who shapes up to shoot and fires an unstoppable effort into the bottom right-hand corner.
51′ Pressure is on Belgium now as Japan showed in their final group match against Poland that they are more than happy to defend when it works in their favour.
49′ OFF THE POST! Belgium almost hit back immediately as Mertens tees the ball across to Hazard as he arrives inside the box but his effort clatters against the frame of the goal.
48′ Japan have looked dangerous on the counter throughout and Shibasaki’s ball through was sublime, although Vertonghen should have done.
48′ GOOOOOAL! 1-0! Japan take the lead! Vertonghen fails to cut out Shibasaki’s through ball and Haraguchi latches onto the end of the pass, firing a driven shot into the far corner of the net beyond Courtois’ reach.
47′ Belgium have won each of their last five World Cup games in which they have been drawing at half-time.
46′ Japan get us back underway for the second half.
There is everything to play for in the second half and Belgium will certainly need to raise their game. Japan may start to take more chances in the attacking third as the game progresses and a goal for either side could change the tempo of the match significantly.
Nothing to split the two teams at the break and Japan will certainly be the happier of the two sides. Belgium have struggled to create clear-cut opportunities, with Japan doing very well defensively, and they have looked vulnerable on the counter.
45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME! BELGIUM 0-0 JAPAN
45′ + 1′ Just one minute of added time at the end of the first half.

40′ The first yellow card of the game is issued to Japan’s Shibasaki, who lunges in on Hazard.
38′ De Bruyne again goes deep with a corner and Vertonghen heads the ball back across the face of goal but Japan comfortably deal with the threat.
36′ Hazard picks up possession after a loose ball from Japan but Yoshida blocks his effort. Belgium come again but Witsel can only send a shot from distance into orbit.
35′ Japan on the front foot again as they hit on the counter, with Inui looking to be a real menace, but Belgium stand firm.
33′ Japan are finding joy in the wide areas and are benefitting from the fact that both Hazard and Mertens are reluctant to track back to help the defence.
31′ A decent attacking move for Japan puts pressure on Courtois’ net but Inui’s header is comfortably collected by the Chelsea stopper.
30′ Belgium are now banging on the door, with Japan shutting up shop in an attempt to keep them out. If Martinez’s side take the lead it could open the floodgates.
28′ CHANCE! Big opportunity for Kompany to open the scoring as De Bruyne’s delivery finds him in room at the far post but, from a tight angle, he fails to hit the target.
26′ Japan survive a major scare as Mertens’ dangerous cross leads to a scramble in the area but Lukaku can not tuck it home before Japan jump on the loose ball.
25′ Belgium’s final ball so far has been very poor and you have to imagine they would be significantly more dangerous in attack if De Bruyne was played in a more advanced role.
23′ Lukaku has not had much service so far but he looks to be in the mood this evening, demanding the ball at every opportunity and putting Japan’s defence under pressure.
21′ Belgium are starting to find little pockets of room to work with but they are coming from the edge of the area or from distance, which is yet to cause a threat for Japan.
19′ Hardly a vintage performance from Belgium’s golden generation so far but there is still plenty of time to go. Japan are showing they could cause problems of their own though.
17′ Belgium go short from the corner before lifting it towards Kompany at the back post but the header from the Manchester City defender is easily cleared away.
16′ First corner of the game is Belgium’s, as Witsel lashes a shot from outside the area that is blocked behind.
14′ Very calm and composed from both teams early on, showing patient build-up play. Belgium are keeping Japan on their toes though.
12′ A decent period on the ball for Japan, who are moving the ball around well but not making any opportunities.
10′ Belgium are certainly not getting things their own way at the moment and they are yet to create an opportunity to test the Japan defence.
8′ Japan have started very well, seeing a lot of the ball and restricting Belgium’s opportunities but the Red Devils still look dangerous.

6′ Hazard dropping deeper to pick up possession before driving forward but Japan are doing well to limit the space early on.
4′ Belgium are seeing most of the ball in the early exchanges but Japan are set up to counter, which could give them opportunities as both Meunier and Carrasco are very attack-minded on the flanks.
2′ Japan have the first sight at goal after Carrasco’s poor header lands at the feet of Kagawa, who cuts into room and drags an effort from outside the box wide of the mark.
1′ We’re underway in the Rostov Arena, where Belgium get the action started.
Both teams are on the field and the national anthems have begun. Brazil eagerly await the winners of this match in the quarter-finals.




Both teams are on the field and the national anthems have begun. Brazil eagerly await the winners of this match in the quarter-finals.
Belgium have never kept a clean sheet in their 11 knockout games at the World Cup, losing eight of them (W2 D1). Five of their last nine have gone to extra time, though there has only been one penalty shoot-out.
Japan also make wholesale changes to return to a more familiar side, making six in total. Kagawa, Inui, Haraguchi, Osako, Hasebe and Shoji return, with Makino, Gotoku Sakai, Yamaguchi, Usami, Muto, Okazaki dropping to the bench.
After selecting a weakened side in the victory over England, Martinez returns to a more familiar side by making 10 changes. Courtois is the only man to keep his spot with the likes of Eden Hazard, Lukaku and returning. Kompany also makes his first appearance of the competition after returning to fitness.
Japan subs: Masaaki Higashiguchi, Kosuke Nakamura, Ryota Oshima, Takashi Usami, Gotoku Sakai, Keisuke Honda, Wataru Endo, Naomichi Ueda, Yoshinori Muto, Tomoaki Makino, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Shinji Okazaki.
Belgium subs: Koen Casteels, Simon Mignolet, Mousa Dembele, Youri Tielemans, Thomas Vermaelen, Adnan Januzaj, Nacer Chadli, Dedryck Borata, Maroaune Fellaini, Michy Batshuayi, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard.
Japan XI: Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki; Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Unui; Yuyu Osako.
Belgium XI: Thibaut Courtois; Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Yannick Carrasco; Kevin De Bruyne, Alex Witsel; Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard.
Japan did not earn too many plaudits for their style of play during the 1-0 defeat to Poland in the final group match but a more familiar set-up is expected tonight. In their sixth World Cup appearance, it is the third time Japan have reached the round-of-16 stage but they have never secured passage to the quarter-finals.
Having seen the likes of Argentina, Germany and Spain already knocked out, Belgium are now ranked amongst the favourites and will fancy their chances of going all the way. A quarter-final clash with Brazil awaits Roberto Martinez’s side if they secure victory, which would be their biggest test yet.
Hello and welcome to this live text commentary of the World Cup last-16 match between Belgium and Japan in Russia.
GOAL

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