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Belgium Shattered Japan’s dream

Down by a couple of goals, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made two inspiring changes that changed the complexion of the match.

Last updated: 03.07.2018
Belgium Shattered Japan’s dream | Sports Social Blog

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What a dramatic and enthralling night it was in Russia. It had drama, emotion, and a thrilling comeback, it is not a Bollywood movie that I am talking about. The round of 16 matches between Japan and Belgium had all the ingredients of a Super-Hit Hindi movie. A match that could easily go down as a World Cup classic.

Despite taking two goals to lead in the second half, Japan went on to lose the match (2-3) against the Cup favourite Belgium in Rostov. It was a bit cagey in the first-half as both teams were measuring out each other. But the match turned on its head in the second half, Japan took the lead against the run of play as Haraguchi made a brilliant run from the right wing and placed the ball perfectly in the far corner of the post. Just a few minutes after that Inui took full advantage of a slightly unsettled Belgium defence and scored one of the best goals of the competition. Inui struck a brilliant shot from just outside of the penalty box, Courtois made a valiant effort to his left but couldn’t able to stop the ball as Japan extended their lead. And Just when everyone thought that Japan will progress to the last eight for the first time in World Cup, Belgium made a stunning come back into the game.

Down by a couple of goals, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made two inspiring changes. He brought in Manchester United Star Fellaini and Chadli, and that changed the complexion of the match. Belgium started to put the pressure back on Japan with their attacking play. In the 69th minute, the red devil’s put one back courtesy Vertonghen well-placed header that beat Japan's goalkeeper Kawashima. Fellaini made his presence felt as he scored the equalizer in the 74th minute of the match that provided Belgium with the much-needed breathing space. In the 85th minute, Kawashima made a couple of outstanding saves to keep Japan's hope alive. The last few seconds were full of drama and action. Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne constructed a fantastic counter-attack from which substitute Chadli scored the winner to break the heart of Japan. Roberto Martinez side became the first team to make a comeback from a two-goal deficit at any point in the match, and win in a regulation time of a knockout stage match since Portugal in 1966 against North Korea.

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