Belgium fight back from two down to beat Japan to reach quarters

Belgium v Japan

Belgium showed their fighting qualities as Nacer Chadli's 94th-minute strike completed a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Japan in their World Cup last-16 clash in Rostov.

Unbeaten in 22 games, Roberto Martinez's side can take comfort from a 1-0 victory over Japan in a friendly in Belgium last November in which their goal was scored by Romelu Lukaku, who has netted four times in two games in Russian Federation so far and who is available to face Japan after an ankle injury.

And despite dominating possession, Belgium failed to create many other quality chances while Japan looked risky throughout the first half on the counter-attack. They advanced from the group phase on fair play points and are intent on winning a last-16 tie for the first time ever.

Kick-off is 7pm Nigerian time. The Manchester United striker has been a force in the tournament, scoring four goals in two starts.

Belgium's captain had stirred, and his side had the momentum. "I don't think there will be big surprises when we face each other", Martinez had said on the eve of the match.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez left most of his first-choice footballers on the bench for the England match so they could rest and avoid suspensions for the Round-of-16 match.

Belgium will now have a match against Brazil in the quarterfinal, where a 2-0 deficit might be a bit more devastating.

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They will feel they deserved better than this after a superbly disciplined performance, with Maya Yoshida marshalling their back line and Eiji Kawashima - a goalkeeper who has been relegated in both Scotland and France in the past three seasons - making several vital interceptions.

Both teams played to an unconventional result in their final group game.

Martinez, who has declared Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany fit to play at Rostov Arena, said of his team's potential route through the knockout stages: "To be successful in a World Cup is not about facing the opponent that everyone expects is going to be giving you the golden key to go through".

Takashi Inui calmly collected Shiji Kagawa's layoff near the box and curled one past Courtois to leave the Belgian Red Devils shellshocked.

So Belgium are supposedly on the "tougher" side of the World Cup bracket.

Keisuke Honda's 30-metre free-kick was parried away by Courtois in stoppage time before the keeper launched the ball to Kevin De Bruyne to make a beeline upfield before finding Meunier, whose cross was met by Chadli for the victor.

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