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Belgium vs Japan: 5 things to look forward to

03 July, 2018, 00:44 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Eden Hazard of Belgium during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between England and Belgium

That tells you everything about this group of players.

"We will have to pay attention because they are used to causing teams problems in both boxes".

The Selecao's glittering crop, headlined by Luis Figo and Rui Costa, could not win the senior worldwide tournament that such talent suggested was theirs by right. It could even be that this team now finally have the experience and confidence to take on anyone.

In England, there has been no such unexpected triumph to offset the disappointment of prior underachievement. The Manchester City skipper has not played a single minute in the cup but has the backing of the management to feature during the crucial knock out phase of the World Cup.

- Since 2010, Keisuke Honda has scored (four) or assisted (three) seven of Japan's last 10 goals at the World Cup.

Now it is the turn of Belgium to be burdened by the label. It isn't entirely out of the question for Japan to reach the quarterfinals.

So far, so good in Russian Federation.

The Red Devils continued to impress in their warm-up friendlies - including a 1-0 win over Japan.

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Rybarikova pulled one break back but she got broken again immediately in game five, having to serve to stay in the match at 1-5. A double fault from Rybarikova led to another break and her continual errors ensured the match was swiftly levelled.

Belgium's nine goals - scored in big wins over Panama and Tunisia, and a 1-0 victory over England in their final preliminary match - saw them top Group G and set up a meeting with Japan, who squeaked into the round of 16 thanks to FIFA's fair play rules.

With a lineup of superstars headlined by the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin DeBruyne, Belgium was the strong favorite heading into the match and regarded by many, as a true contender to reach the July 15 final.

While Belgium look the favorites after breezing through the groups stage, Japan only got here thanks to a fifth tiebreaker (over Senegal) that involved getting fewer yellow cards.

The team captain continued to outlay his thoughts to the Japanese media saying, "We have gone through so much in this past two months, including a sudden coach change".

However they could revert back to type with Japan coaches coming out and saying that the decision to run the clock down despite losing to Poland was not up to them and the manager but instead the players took it into their own hands against the managers will.

"Every player is involved and it's a responsibility that everyone wants to share".

ROSTOV-For the second World Cup in succession, Belgium has swept through the group stage with three wins and stylish football. Teams such as Brazil or Mexico could await them in the quarterfinals, while France or Uruguay loom further down the line. The game will kick-off this Monday at 19:00 hrs, BST. Only a 24-karat performance can suffice.


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