Belgium left it late to beat Japan 3-2 in an enthralling round of 16 contest of the FIFA World Cup 2018 to seal a quarterfinals spot. It was one of the most thrilling encounters, the Russia extravaganza has witnessed so far as Japan produced arguably one of their finest performances but were left heartbroken by Nacer Chadli who scored a winner in injury-time, with just minutes left into the game to make it 3-2 for the Red Devils. It was a fantastic day for Asian football as the Blue Samurai made the dark horses work hard for the win.
Chadli finished off a brilliant run from Kevin De Bruyne to give an incredible finish to a thrilling match. In what was probably the last move of the match, De Bruyne built up an excellent counter-attack and passed it towards Romelu Lukaku who couldn’t tap it in but Chadli made no mistakes with his tap in.
Before the winner, it was Japan who came out shining in the second half to score two goals within seven minutes into the second half to put Belgium on the backfoot. Genki Haraguchi scored the opener by beating Thibaut Courtois with a sublime finish in the 48th minute of the game. Japan then saw their lead got doubled just four minutes after the first goal as Takashi Inui scored the second in the 52nd minute.
Shinji Kagawa found Inui with an inch-perfect pass which was launched into the bottom right-hand corner by the forward who made it 2-0 for Japan as another upset looked close at the Rostov Arena in Rostov.
However, Belgium showed remarkable composure and sparked a brilliant turnaround to end all hopes of the Blue Samurai to register their best finish at the World Cup. Jan Vertonghen capitalised on a set piece which was almost thwarted by the Japanese backline before the ball landed on the defender’s head and he scored a sensational header to pull one back for the Red Devils.
Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini then made it 2-2 with another powerful header as Belgium struck back into the crucial game. After failing to find the winner for the last 30 minutes, Chadli avoided extra time with a great finish. Belgium will now take on Brazil in the quarterfinals.