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17th of July 2018

Sport



Comeback kids! - Belgium overturn 2-0 deficit to pip Japan to World Cup quarter-final spot

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP):

Jan Vertonghen started Belgium's comeback with a wild, looping header and Nacer Chadli capped it by finishing off a 10-second, end-to-end attack in the final moments.

It added up to a 3-2 victory over Japan yesterday that gave the Belgians a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals for the second straight tournament.

Trailing 2-0, Vertonghen scored with a header in the 69th minute that appeared to be a cross but somehow dropped in under the bar. Substitute Marouane Fellaini headed in another from Eden Hazard's cross in the 74th.

 

MAGICAL LAST KICK

 

Chadli, who came on as a substitute in the 65th, decided it with virtually the last kick of the game in the fourth minute of injury time.

Belgium goalkeeper Thibault Courtois grabbed a corner kick and rolled the ball to Kevin De Bruyne, who dribbled to the top of the center circle and passed to Thomas Meunier on the right. Meunier one-timed the ball across the area and Romelu Lukaku let it roll by for Chadli to tap in with his left foot from seven yards.

Belgium is the first team to overturn a two-goal deficit in a World Cup knockout match since West Germany beat England in extra time at the 1970 tournament. The last team do it in regulation was when Portugal beat North Korea in the 1966 quarter-finals.

"It's a test of character. It's a test of the team," Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said. "You have to see how the substitutes react, how the whole team reacts."

Belgium will next face five-time champions Brazil in the quarter-finals on Friday in Kazan.

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