Belgium’s Great Escape

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Jul 2018 11:57:21




Nacer Chadli scored an injury time winner to bring Belgium back from the jaws of defeat as they beat Japan 3-2 to move into the quarter-final of the World Cup on Monday night.Down by two goals till 69th minute, Belgium showed courage and temperament to bounce back and stun Japan with the last minute stunner.In the last minute of the stoppage time, Kevin De Bruyne charged through the middle and rolled a ball out wide to Thomas Meunier. Lukaku brilliantly left the ball for Chadli who directed it across the goal line.

Belgium came back into the match after being down by two goals.They scored two goals through headers to bounce back into the match after they were stunned by japan in the early part of the second half. If the first half saw both the teams sharing the ball possession, the second essay witnessed four goals in just over 20 minutes of play.Japan stunned Belgium, a much higher ranked team between the two with two stunning goals.Three minutes into the second half Japan stunned Belgium with an early goal. Jan Vertonghen failed to cut out Gaku Shibasaki’s through ball and Genki Haraguchi latched it onto the end of the pass, firing a driven shot into the far corner of the net beyond keeper Courtois’ reach.

The Blue Samurai boomed another within three minutes to send shock waves across Belgium.Shinji Kagawa collected the ball on the edge of the box and pushed a pass back to Takashi Inui, who shaped up to shoot and fired in an unstoppable right footer into the bottom right-hand corner.
Down by two goals Belgium were under tremendous pressure. They tried to take control and made desperate attempts to find an opening.In the 64th minute, Lukaku got a chance when Thomas Meunier curled a cross into the six-yard box where the Manchester United man has ample of space but he headed the ball past the post.

Belgium made two chances on the go bringing in Maroaune Fellaini and Nacer Chadli to bolster their attack. They succeeded in pulling one back in the 69th minute. Japan failed to deal with a corner when Jan Vertonghen looped a superb header over the head of keeper Eiji Kawashima and into the far corner.Three minutes later, substitute Fellaini headed the leveller to bring Belgium back into the game.
Eden Hazard curled a superb cross into the middle where Fellaini, timed his jump above the Japan defence to head home.

The first 45 minutes was a balanced half with Japan giving equal fight to the Belgians. Lukaku, Hazard came close to scoring on a couple of occasions each but they either hit the rival players or their shots were saved by the goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.The was hardly a vintage performance from Belgium’s golden generation till first 20 minutes but there was still plenty of time to go. Japan showed they could cause problems of their own though. In the 26th minute, Japan survived a major scare as Dries Mertens’ dangerous cross led to a scramble in the area but Romelu Lukaku could not tuck it home before Japan defenders jumped on the loose ball.

Two minutes later, Vincent Company had a golden chance to put Belgium ahead when Kevin De Bruyne’s calculated cross pass from right got him in the room at the far post but, from a tight angle, he failed to hit the target. Japan too had their share of chances and their best came just a minute before the break.Yuto Nagatomo drilled a pass into the box which was poked back towards Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who, under no pressure at all, fumbled and the ball slipped from his clutches but he quickly collected it into his arms.