Japan's fresher legs give them a chance against Belgium:The Asahi Shimbun

Alexis Sanchez Romelu Lukaku

Belgium booked a last eight berth to face the Selecao with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Japan in Rostov-on-Don on Monday when Nacer Chadli scored the 94th-minute victor as the Red Devils came from 2-0 down.

The victor of that tie will go on to face the victor of Monday's other game, which sees Belgium meet Japan in Rostov-on-Don (1800 GMT).

When Japan led Belgium 2-0, courtesy two sensational strikes, the world rubbed its eyes in disbelief.

If there's one lesson to be gleaned from Japan's last-gasp defeat at the hands of a Belgian side that they'd matched for long spells is that an expanded World Cup is absolutely, fundamentally, a positive thing for the long-term growth of the game. Fans across Japan had grown pessimistic about the team's prospects in the World Cup and bemoaned its habit of grinding out results. We play for Belgium, we have a lot of good players, but of course I want to go to the final.

Brazil, meanwhile, advanced past the group stage of the World Cup for the 13th consecutive time.

The World Cup is now in the "final sixteen" stage, which will then see the eight winning teams go through to the quarter finals.

"Maybe we gave the European crowds a message that they should bring more Japanese players, not even national players".

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The Manchester United striker has scored four goals at the 2018 World Cup so far, bagging a brace against both Panama and Tunisia in the group stage.

"We don't talk about that to our players".

Martinez added: 'Physically we finished the game really strong. They let us dream of a victory at one point.

At a bar in a Tokyo business district, the air went out of the room as Belgium found the net in extra time, scoring a third goal to seal Japan's fate.

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The Finals may be over for Japan, but they have proven themselves as champions off the pitch, with their exemplary actions winning the hearts and minds of neutrals everywhere.

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