Belgium fight back from two down to beat Japan 3-2 in stoppage time

Saint Petersburg, JUL 3: Belgium threw caution to the wind to reach the World Cup quarter-finals when substitute Nacer Chadli scored in the dying seconds as they beat spirited Japan 3-2 on Monday to set up a mouthwatering clash with five-time champions Brazil.
The distraught Japanese, who went 2-0 up with goals by Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui early in the second half, fell to the turf after Chadli poked the ball home from Thomas Meunier’s cross four minutes into added time at the Rostov Arena. Much-fancied Belgium, who had taken a conservative approach to the game, got back into contention with late goals by Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini before Chadli struck in a demonstration of coach Robert Martinez’s tactical nous. “That’s what happens in the World Cup. It was a test of character and a test of the team. It tells you everything about this group of players,” said Spaniard Martinez.
Japan coach Akira Nishino, whose side agonisingly failed to reach the last eight for the first time, added: “We were leading, we were going to win but I didn’t expect this kind of reversal of the result.
“I thought this is a World Cup, and we were faced with the strength in depth of Belgium, that’s how I felt at the end of game.”
One of the most exciting teams of the group phase, Belgium faced an embarrassing exit but finally clicked to become the first team to win a World Cup knockout game from two goals down since West Germany beat England 3-2 after extra time in 1970.
Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ have now scored 12 goals in four games in Russia ahead of a last eight clash on Friday with Brazil, who beat Mexico 2-0 earlier on Monday. Agencies