Belgium Stun Japan in Five-goal Thriller

first_img.Sets for quarter final match against BrazilBelgium completed a remarkable revival as they came from the World Cup abyss and beat Japan to reach the quarter-finals.Roberto Martinez’s side were trailing 2-0 when he brought on Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in the 65th minute, and Fellaini scored the equaliser before Chadli netted a 94th-minute winner. They now face Brazil in the last eight on Friday.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.Takashi Inui’s 25-yard strike made it 2-0 and looked set to take the Asian side to their first ever quarter-finals.Belgium’s Premier League stars – their golden generation – had put in a disappointing performance and Martinez turned to the oft-ridiculed Fellaini and West Brom winger Chadli in his hour of need.Their fortunes changed after that as Vertonghen scored a looping header to get them back into the game.Fellaini then headed in Hazard’s cross to level before Chadli converted Thomas Meunier’s pass to finish off a flowing move and help the Red Devils avoid being the latest victims of a World Cup of shocks.Belgium become the first team to fight back from two goals down to win a World Cup knockout game since Germany against England in 1970.Earlier yesterday, Brazil’s star player, Neymar, was the hero of the day after his opening goal and another by Firmino dip into injury time to assure former champions a quarter final berth ahead of Mexico at the Samara Stadium.It was the South American representative’s sixth consecutive quarter final qualification since the painful elimination by Argentina in the second round match at Italia 90.But on Monday afternoon inside Samara stadium, the only CONCACAF representative left in the tournament, gave enough resistance most especially in the first half with some significant attempts to score against favourite, Brazil.Brazil did not have it all their own way, especially in an opening period dominated by Mexico, but the five-time winners grew into what became a controlled performance.It means Mexico are once again eliminated at the last-16 stage – as they have been at every World Cup since 1994.They did have plenty of chances early on, and it was only after a largely frustrating first half for Brazil that Neymar started the move to put his side ahead.His run across goal and clever backheel won Willian space, and the Chelsea midfielder only needed two touches to drive into box and lay the ball across for the world’s most expensive player to slide home.It was Brazil’s 227th goal at the World Cup, meaning they overtake Germany as the all-time top scorers.Just moments earlier, Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo wasted a brilliant chance when he shot wildly over the crossbar instead of playing in Hirving Lozan.For much of the second half, Mexico’s bright start was just a memory, but Carlos Vela forced a save from Brazil goalkeeper Alisson with his side’s first shot on target not long after going behind.In the match’s closing stages they rallied once more, but Brazil defended stoically before doubling their lead on the break through a Roberto Firmino tap-in after Neymar’s effort was diverted by the toe of Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.But they will be without Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, who will be suspended after being shown his second yellow card of the tournament.Given his contribution, Neymar should have garnered only positive headlines, but he was the centre of attention for the wrong reasons too after overreacting to a challenge from Miguel Layun in the closing stages.The Mexico full-back appeared to press his studs against Neymar’s ankle as he retrieved the ball from between the Brazilian’s legs.Neymar, who was sitting down, writhed around in apparent agony before getting up to carry on without any issue.“I’m embarrassed for Neymar,” said former England striker Dion Dublin on BBC Radio 5 live.“He is one of the world’s greatest players but when he rolls about on the floor, I just don’t get it. Come on young man you’re better than that, get on with the game.”Brazil are aiming to emulate the many great teams before them, while putting behind the heartache they suffered at the tournament they hosted four years ago, when Germany destroyed them 7-1 in the semi-finals.The last time they failed to reach quarter-finals was in 1990.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more