nine goals - scored in big wins over Panama and Tunisia, and a 1-0 victory over England in their final preliminary match - saw them top Group G and set up a meeting with Japan, who squeaked into the round of 16 thanks to FIFA's fair play rules.

On Monday, Japan lost its knockout game by being outplayed late against Belgium.

Kick-off is 7pm Nigerian time.


The Red Devils found themselves 2-0 down early in the second half after Japan scored a quick-fire double.

However, the Red Devils responded with quick goals of their own as Jan Vertonghen, at fault for Haraguchi's goal, and Marouane Fellaini both scored headers before Chadli's dramatic victor in Rostov. After being two goals up, Japan's tournament is over. There is so much hype surrounding this Belgium side, anything but a semifinal appearance - matching the nation's best achievement in 1986 - will be deemed a disappointment.

"Especially in 2002, it was the first time that Japan made it through to the round of 16, they were very satisfied.so how aggressive they felt about the match in the round of 16, I'm not sure".

If they do progress, noble failure against perennial World Cup powerhouse Brazil in the last eight could perhaps be excused.


With players like Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku at his disposal, Martinez's team have more than enough quality to match their achievement at the last World Cup and secure a place in the quarter-finals, where Brazil could await.

It is the first big competitive test of Martinez's two years of trying to turn a "golden generation" of individual talents with big egos at club level into a national side which can finally live up to its top-five Federation Internationale de Football Association world ranking.

Japan looked on their way to a famous win in Rostov after Genki Haraguchi ran onto Gaku Shibasaki's long ball, which Jan Vertonghen should have cut out, to open the scoring. To Lukaku's credit, he silenced a lot of that talk last season and should be setting his sights on getting the goals to help his country go as far as they can in the World Cup.

Belgium's Nacer Chadli scores their third goal.


Having experimented with his side against Poland, it will be interesting to see whether or not Nishino brings the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui, Yuya Osako and Mateo Hasebe back into his team.

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