Final score: Belgium 3-2 Japan
This World Cup has set a high standard for drama, but this game takes the prize for most dramatic of the tournament so far. Japan’s defense looked excellent for the first 65 minutes, and their counter-attack produced a two-goal lead, but a lucky headed goal by Jan Vertonghen caused the match to do a 180. Japan barely held off Belgium’s relentless pressure after that, and was caught napping in the 95th minute when Belgium created the game-winning goal.
Belgium’s substitutions were what ended up making the difference. Marouane Fellaini scored the equalizer with a towering header, and Chadli tapped in the winning goal.
Japan, meanwhile, looked devastated following the final whistle. A number of their players could be seen screaming, crying, and pounding the turf in frustration. They’ll feel like they threw this game away.
GOAL Nacer Chadli! Belgium 3-2 Japan!
With the last kick of the game, Belgium wins it! Just one minute after Courtois saved a free kick by Keisuke Honda to keep his team level, Chadli scores at the other end! Japan pushed too hard for the winner at the other end and was left open for an expertly executed Belgium counter.
Courtois started it well by rolling the ball out for Kevin De Bruyne, who found Thomas Meunier on the right flank. He crossed towards Romelu Lukaku, who dummied the ball for Chadli to tap in.
#MundialTelemundo @NChadli le da la vuelta al marcador y pone a #BEL en cuartos de final. pic.twitter.com/2XWtpYJP5Q— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 2, 2018
86’ — Huge double save by Kawashima
The first one is really good. The second is sensational.
Kawashima comes up HUGE for Japan to keep it 2-2! pic.twitter.com/D2zDex0c8J— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2018
GOAL Marouane Fellaini! Japan 2-2 Belgium!
What do the armchair experts know? Fellaini is the hero. He rises above everyone to meet Hazard’s cross and nod it into the back of the net. We’re tied with 14 minutes to go. What a wild half.
#MundialTelemundo @Fellaini salta más que nadie y empata el marcador en la Arena Rostov #BEL 2-2 #JPN pic.twitter.com/11x9gwBE9F— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 2, 2018
GOAL Jan Vertonghen! Japan 2-1 Belgium!
The Belgians are back in it with just over 20 minutes of regular time to go. Roberto Martinez is getting roasted for bringing in Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli, but their size helped set up what eventually became a goal by Jan Vertonghen.
Vertonghen deserves all the credit here though, he played a perfect looped header over Kawashima.
#MundialTelemundo Con un golazo, @JanVertonghen descuenta el marcador para #BEL que cae 1-2 ante #JPN pic.twitter.com/g2g84jleeS— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 2, 2018
GOAL Takashi Inui! Japan 2-0 Belgium!
OH MY GOD. The Belgian defense is getting absolutely shredded here! No one closes down Inui and he places a perfect shot into the side netting from 25 yards. Spectacular stuff from Japan, and terrible defense too.
#MundialTelemundo @takashi73784537 marca un golazo y #JPN aumenta la ventaja 2-0 sobre #BEL pic.twitter.com/lyvEb7Pz4q— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 2, 2018
GOAL Genki Haraguchi! Japan 1-0 Belgium!
What a start to the second half! After a few threatening counter-attacks in the first half, Japan come right out of the locker room and execute their best one of the game. Takashi Inui one the ball in his own half and started the attack with a nice pass to Gaku Shibasaki, who played a gorgeous through ball. Jan Vertonghen had a chance to cut out the pass, though, and whiffed, letting the ball run to Haraguchi. His finish was perfect.
#MundialTelemundo Así lo narró @sadovnik1965, #JPN sorprende a #BEL y se pone adelante en el marcador. pic.twitter.com/KWGJHXPvgp— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 2, 2018
Halftime score: Belgium 0-0 Japan
Not much going on here. The biggest moment of the half was when Thibaut Courtois let a routine save go between his legs and had to scramble to keep the ball from going over the line.
#MundialTelemundo @thibautcourtois casi provoca un infarto en los aficionados de #BEL pic.twitter.com/kxfyDluaE0— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) July 2, 2018
Belgium has had 10 shots, but none of them have threatened Eiji Kawashima. Japan is looking solid defensively and smart on the counter, an upset wouldn’t be shocking.
Belgium and Japan both make big changes for this game, reverting to their first choice lineups after resting a lot of players in their final group stage matches. Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard will be expected to run the show for the Belgians, while Japan’s hopes of scoring rest of Shinji Kagawa and Takashi Inui, who have looked dangerous on counter attacks.
Belgium vs. Japan lineups
And here are how #BEL and #JPN are shaping up for #BELJPN...— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 2, 2018
Thoughts on the teams? #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/N2JNZkPL0v
Belgium and Japan continue play for Monday as the second match of the day in the Round of 16. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don, Russia, and you can watch it on Fox and Telemundo. Online streaming is also available in English through Fox Sports Go here or in Spanish through Telemundo here. At the 2014 World Cup Belgium advanced to the quarterfinal, but then were knocked out by a loss to Argentina. Japan did not advance out of the group stage in 2014, and this is the third Round of 16 appearance for Japan in the last five World Cup tournaments. They look to win their first ever last-16 match, while Belgium look to advance to their third World Cup quarterfinal. The winner of this match will face Brazil, after Brazil defeated Mexico, 2-0.
Belgium vs. Japan Time, TV channel, and streaming info
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Rostov Arena, Rostov-On-Don, Russia
TV: Fox (English), Telemundo (Spanish)
Streaming: Watch the game on Fox Sports Go (English) and Telemundo Deportes en vivo (Spanish) for free if you sign in with your TV provider. It’s also on subscription services like Fubo and Hulu.
Odds: Belgium -1.25 (Full odds at OddsShark)
For listings from more countries, check out Live Soccer TV.
Belgium vs. Japan news to read before kickoff
Japan is stupid, cowardly, and deserved to get eliminated from the World Cup
In bizarre circumstances, Japan has qualified for the round of 16. Japan and Senegal ended up tied in every conventional way — points, goal differential, goals scored, and head-to-head — but Japan had fewer yellow cards. They’re the first team in World Cup history to advance on the fair play tiebreaker, thanks to Senegal’s high number of bookings.
How do yellow card suspensions work at the World Cup?
A big inevitability of any major soccer tournament is yellow card accumulation leading to suspensions. It’s frustrating for fans and managers alike, but it’s something that always has to be considered going into any game. The World Cup is no exception to this rule, so knowing how the tournament’s yellow card rules are going to work is important before it starts.