Emerging from Group H as surprise runners up, Japan weren’t given much of a chance against Belgium but the Samurai Blue refused to back down.

Belgium settled on the ball and controlled much of the first half but Japan took their chances and responded by creating chances of their own.

However, it was the second half that saw the most action, with Japan scoring two goals in four minutes to put Belgium under extreme pressure.

Jan Vertonghen got his team back in the game with a spectacular header but it was Belgium's substitutes who turned the match on its head.

Marouane  Fellaini netted the equaliser in the 74th minute before Nacer Chadli broke Japanese hearts with a goal in the final minute of play.   


Thibaut Coutois – 6

Hardly tested in the first half but was well beaten by both of Japan’s goals.

Toby Alderweireld- 6.5

Came through with a much-needed interception or final touch on the ball at crucial moments, especially in the second half.

Vincent Kompany- 5.5

Had a lot of trouble dealing with Hiroki Sakai and Genki Haraguchi, allowing them to sit in and behind him.

Jan Vertonghen- 8

Had to deal with constant pressure from Takashi Inui and Yuto Nagatomo but positioned himself well to get to the ball first. Remarkable header got Belgium back in the game.

Thomas Meunier- 8.5

Always seemed to be on the ball, working hard to get both forward and back, using bursts of speed to start counter attacks.





Kevin De Bruyne- 6.5

Hung back in midfield and only began pushing forward after Belgium had conceded two goals.

Axel Witsel- 7.5

Moved forward to sit just outside the box to help Belgium compress the Japanese defence and quickly move the ball across the field.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco- 7

Strong down the left-hand side, managing to lose his defender and create space. Dropped off in the second half and was subbed with just over 25 minutes left to play.

Dries Mertens - 7

Created opportunities up front with perfectly-weighed through balls, but played in too close to his teammates in the second half and was replaced in the 65th minute.

Eden Hazard- 7.5

A truly impressive first touch, seeming able to make something out of nothing going forward.

Romelu Lukaku- 6.5

Worked well off his midfield to try and create space but couldn’t deliver in front of goal.


Marouane Fellaini – 8.5

Got to work immediately, winning corners and then using his height to challenge in the air and head home the equaliser.

Nacer Chadli – 8.5

Came on with 25 minutes to go and used his pace to put Japan on the back foot, capitalising on transitional play. Scored the winner at the death.


Eiji Kawashima- 8.5

Pulled off some good saves under pressure to keep the scores level in the first half and was very difficult to beat in the second.

Hiroki Sakai – 6.5

Got his body behind the ball but couldn’t stop the Belgium defenders from working in behind him.

Maya Yoshida – 7.5

Applied constant pressure to the Belgium attack, making it very difficult for them to look comfortable on the ball when in the box.

Gen Shoji – 7.5

Was locked in a fierce battle with Lukaku and did well to limit the striker's time on the ball.  

Yuto Nagatomo - 8

Worked well with Inui so that Japan always had someone forward on the left, spreading the Belgium defence.

Makoto Hasebe – 7.5

Played a deep role, acting almost as an extra defender that allowed Inui and Haraguchi to make the most of their speed and push forward.

Gaku Shibasaki – 6.5

A quieter game from the midfielder. He still did well to stand up to the physicality of the Belgium team, picking up a yellow card for his efforts.

Genki Haraguchi – 8.5

Tracked back well to try and win the ball in the midfield. A well-timed run and beautiful finish gave Japan the lead.  

Shinji Kagawa- 7.5

Smart first touches and short give and go passes created consistent chances for Japan.

Takashi Inui- 8.5

Had pace to get in behind defenders and keep balls in that looked certain to roll out. A spectacular strike from outside the area put Japan ahead by two.

Yuya Osako- 7

Slid across in attack to try and trap the Belgium defence in the corners, making it difficult for them to work the ball out.


Keisuke Honda- 6

It only took about two minutes for Honda to find the ball in front of goal but it was just a touch too far. Forced a save at the death with a well-struck free-kick in stoppage time.

Genki Haraguchi – 5.5

Came on to provide fresh legs in midfield but didn’t see much of the ball.