On Monday 2 July, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) squared off with Belgium National Team in the round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup Russia at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don. Despite taking a two-goal lead early in the second half with goals from HARAGUCHI Genki (Fortuna Dusseldorf) and INUI Takashi (Real Betis), Japan allowed Belgium to come from behind late and lost the match with a final score of 2-3. Japan once again came short from advancing to their first ever quarterfinals.
After making their third overall appearance in the round of 16 following 2002 and 2010, Japan entered the match with the same line-ups as they had in their second group stage match.
Belgium, who has made it into the quarterfinals in the 2014 World Cup, lined up players from their first and second group stage match, for an exception of one centre back, where the team recorded two convincing victories. Eight of their players including Romelu LUKAKU, Eden HAZARD, and Kevin DE BRUYNE were given a rest for their third group stage clash against England where the team won 1-0 without them.
KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund) created an opportunity early in the match as he collected the clear ball and took a shot. 10 minutes later, the hotline between Kagawa and Inui threatened the opposing goal as the ball was crossed to Haraguchi who was making the run in the centre......
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