The Japanese national team came within half an hour away from pulling off one of the more shocking results of the Word Cup on Monday. Japan held what seemed to be a convincing 2-0 lead in the second half before the talented Belgians stormed back to take control of the game in the final seconds.
Despite struggling throughout the entire match, Belgium regained its group stage form, scoring three goals in the final 25 minutes to earn a 3-2 victory. Nacer Chadli scored in the 94th minute, the final minute of stoppage time, to complete the comeback and send Roberto Martinez's team to the quarterfinals, where it will face Brazil.
The game came alive after a scoreless first half that say plenty of chances for each team. Belgium was a bit sloppy while Japan's defense was able to give the favorites problems when it came to playing the ball over the top.
And then, Japan found a breakthrough, twice. Genki Haraguchi scored a fine opener in the box on 48 minutes before Takashi Inui made it 2-0 four minutes later with this golazo:
The hour-mark passed, and as we neared closer to the 70th minute, Belgium needed a spark. And it got it with this miraculous header from Jan Vertonghen in the 69th minute:
Then another header, five minutes later, equalized things thanks to floppy-haired Marouane Fellaini:
Belgium continued to push for a winner but was denied by some fine saves from Eiji Kawashima until it pulled off one of the most lethal counterattacks of the cup. Belgium defended a Japan corner kick in the 94th minute, and left everyone in the dust, with Romelu Lukaku's dummy falling right to Chadli for the dramatic winner:
That was something else. And it now produces the dream matchup of Brazil vs. Belgium. Japan deserved more and put together a performance few thought it could, but in the end Belgium's talent was just too much.
Brazil and Belgium will play on Friday at 2 p.m. ET. You can stream every World Cup match on fuboTV (Try for free).
Relive commentary from Monday's Belgium vs. Japan match
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