Belgium complete stunning comeback from 2-0 down to beat Japan

03 Julio, 2018, 04:37 | Author: Thomas Hicks
  • Eden Hazard of Belgium during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between England and Belgium

Two years earlier they had also gone out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage, beaten by eventual runners-up Argentina. Do you simply say Martinez brought on Chadli and Fellaini, who both scored, ergo they were the right decisions, a plan executed perfectly?

Mexico, who enjoyed an enviable recent record against Brazil having won seven of their previous 15 matches against them, were a threat on the counter in the first half but then faded out of contention.

"It's a test of character".

"Sometimes in the World Cup you want to be ideal, but in knockout football it's about winning and they showed a winning mentality".

Through the three group stage matches, Japan fans have stayed late to help stadium workers pick up trash in the stands. "It's a test of the team", Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said. It was all about getting through.

"For the next four years, it's very important for our young talented players to get experience", Bob Browaeys, who has been national youth coach for almost 20 years, told Reuters, arguing that past champions have been slow to refresh the first team.

Japan opened with the positivity that has become a feature of Nishino's tenure and Thibaut Courtois nearly gifted the Asian team a 44th-minute lead when a weak Gen Shoji shot was deflected by Yuya Osaka and the Belgium keeper let it trickle through his legs before pouncing on it.

Fellaini said Martinez's tactics to have Belgium put in more crosses and take advantage of their superior height paid dividends.

Belgium's Nacer Chadli is mobbed by teammates after scoring against Japan.

"We came back into the game then we started to believe", Chadli said.

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Yet, what saw them draw the most flak was for the way they stroked the ball around for the final ten minutes while trailing to the Poles, in hope that Colombia would hold on to their 1-0 lead over Senegal.

The most-heartening aspect of Japan's displays as a whole is the fact that the new generation has stepped forward to take on the mantle.

"It was important for our confidence, and not to let our country down". "To lose today.you can lose a game, but the way we've been playing, we can't lose like this". We had to change something, change the mentality and we fought for each other.

"We wanted to win it". However, Belgium showed tremendous resolve to come back from behind and scrape through to the quarter-final.

"The 0-2 is a part of football, after that we kept on fighting", midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said.

Vertonghen made amends for his mistake in the build-up to Japan's opening goal when his speculative header from out wide looped over Eiji Kawashima's grasp on 69 minutes. If every striker thought about the possibility of missing a chance before putting it away, they'd never score another goal again.

"We crawled through the eye of the needle".

An opening 2-1 win over Colombia was impressive but came against a side which played nearly the entire match with ten men, and was followed by a 2-2 draw against Senegal that had as many positives as it had negatives. Still, thanks to several incredible saves from Kawashima, Japan remained in the game, breaking off on the occasional counter-attack as the game wore on.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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