What a cruel endgame for the Japanese. The Blue Samurai had done the hardest thing as soon as they got back from the locker room. Dominated in the first period, the teammates of Shinji Kagawa took advantage of the Belgian passivity to plant two goals in four minutes. Genki Haraguchi (48′) and Takashi Inui (52′) cheated on Thibaut Courtois and took a hell of an option to join Brazil in the quarterfinals.
Too fuzzy to worry a well-organized Japanese Defense, Belgium could not worry Eiji Kawashima… until the double change made by Roberto Martinez. The Belgian technician threw Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli (65′) and rocked the meeting.
Three minutes later, the Asian rearguard gave Jan Vertonghen the ball. Out-of-the-way, the defenseman wanted to serve his teammates, remaining at the penalty point. A rematch that ended in the small opposite net (2-1, 68′).
A quarter of an hour before the end, Eden Hazard, very stirring during the game, combined well to the left and addressed a center to the line in the opposing surface. At the outposts Fellaini did what he had come back to do : jump higher than everyone else and plant his head (2-2, 74′).
We were slowly heading into overtime. In the additional time, Keisuke Honda, who had entered the game ten minutes earlier, catapulted the ball on a free-kick at nearly forty meters. Being Vigilant on his line, Courtois boxed the ball and offered his team one last chance. In counter-attack, Thomas Meunier shot on the right side. When he reached the surface, the Parisian focused on Kawashima’s goal. In the fight with a defender, Romelu Lukaku let the ball slip through the net, allowing Nacer Chadli to adjust FC Metz’s goalkeeper.
With its extra-time victory, Belgium qualifies for the quarter-finals of the worlds, where it will be up against Brazil, the winner earlier in Mexico day (2-0).