Belgium beats Japan 3-2 in last breath

Belgium's Eden Hazard Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne

Belgium's Eden Hazard Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne will return to the starting line-up

In preparation of the match, I think I have to overcome him mentally.

Hazard was joined on the field by his younger brother Thorgan for the final seven minutes of Belgium's third Group G game against England, helping to see out a 1-0 victory that secured a tie with Japan in the last 16. Just ask holders Germany.

The 30-year-old Eibar attacking midfielder lacks the profile of Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, but has been one of Japan's best performers at the World Cup, opening the scoring against Senegal.

Belgium face Japan on Sunday with a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals on the line (22:00 UAE kick-off time).

"It will definitely be a hard match". Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku did not play in the match with a minor injury, but is fully expected to play today.

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Belgium have plenty to lose. This star-studded lineup has it all, including Premier League stars Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

According to oddsmakers, Belgium is a -282 favorite on the moneyline.

It was the Europeans who started off the match brightly as the Japanese found it hard to break the physically strong Belgium defence in a first half that ended 0-0. Even when they were put under serious pressure by Belgium, the team kept their shape and defended with discipline and energy.

Inui's goal was a historic milestone for Japan, which had never led a World Cup match by more than a single goal. At Russia 2018, Japan have looked inconsistent.

Japan held Belgium to a thrilling 2-2 draw in 2002 - though the current Belgian side are a very different proposition from the 2002 side, and Japan were the co-hosts in that year. Will it be the team that defeated Colombia two weeks ago or the one that fell to already-eliminated Poland?

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Ex-England global Phil Neville described Japan and Poland's approach as "disgraceful", but coach Akira Nishino's senior players defended the tactic.

Belgium, on the other hand, still have plenty to prove.

In that case it was Lionel Messi's Argentina knocked them out, and there was no shame in losing to eventual finalists and a side that almost became champions.

Now Japan stand in the path of another appearance in the quarter-finals, where Brazil or Mexico will lie in wait. Belgium haven't showed any fear at this tournament. What Japan did got them to the round of 16, as the sole representative from Asia.

"No negatives today, it was about getting through", Martinez said.

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