Belgium in thrilling fight back to knock Japan out of the World Cup

first_img 6 Extra-time looked likely but Belgium had other ideas.A brilliant counter-attack that started with Courtious and ended with Nacer Chadli tapping home in the final minute of second-half stoppage time after a brilliant dummy from Romelu Lukaku to seal a 3-2 win.STAR MAN – Marouane Fellaini Chadli taps in to send the Belgium fans delirious Tottenham Hotspur defender Vertonghen gave Belgium a crucial lifeline in the 69th minute.Under a high ball from the edge of the area Vertonghen impressively looped a header across the penalty area and into the far corner.Following further pressure, a header from substitute Marouane Fellaini made the score 2-2 in the 74th minute.Hazard impressively created space to cross from the left, and Fellaini jumped highest to nod Belgium level. Japan successfully resisted the superior Belgians, ensuring the game remained goalless at half-time.While posing a consistent threat, Roberto Martinez’s team struggled to deliver the final ball they required when on several occasions they could have taken the lead.Japan made an impressive start to the second half, scoring in the 48th minute through Genki Haraguchi to go 1-0 up.A swift counter-attack led to Haraguchi being sent one-on-one with Courtois, and he calmly finished first-time towards the bottom left corner.In the 52nd minute they doubled their lead through Takashi Inui’s second goal of the competition.From the edge of the area, the midfielder fired the ball into the bottom right corner and out of Courtois’ reach. The part played by Romelu Lukaku cannot be underplayed as well, his dummy gifted Chadli an easy opportunity. Roberto Martinez was stunned to see his side slip to a 2-0 deficit The underdogs produced an impressive display and were on course to spring a major shock as they took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui.However, Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini pulled Martinez’s men back from defeat and Chadli fired home a late winner.Belgium will now face Brazil in the quarter-final on Friday, while Japan must head home. Inui celebrates what he thought was the decisive goal Fellaini celebrates bringing the Belgians level center_img Belgium completed an incredible comeback with virtually the last kick of the game to send Japan out of the World Cup.Substitute Nacer Chadli came off the bench to round off a searing counter-attack and break the Japanese hearts in injury-time of a dramatic last 16 clash. Agony and ecstasy as the West Brom man sends Japan home 6 6 6 6 Love him or hate him, you cannot deny Marouane Fellaini is effective.After watching Spain dominate possession only to limp out on Sunday, Roberto Martinez clearly decided enough was enough and decided to go direct.It may not have been pretty, but the Manchester United midfielder dragged his country back into the game.His impressive showing against England on Thursday must mean he is in contention to start against Brazil on Friday.MOMENT OF THE MATCHAlthough Inui’s goal was breath-taking, the moment of this match was undoubtedly the counter-attack which won the game.Starting from the goalkeeper’s hands, the Belgians cut through the exhausted Japanese defence with ease to score a vital goal. 6last_img read more