Belgium, down two goals, gets three to beat Japan

This was a squeaker: after being down two goals against Japan, Belgium scored three—one in the four minutes of added 90+ time, to save a spot in the World Cup. Japan goes home, and now Belgium faces Brazil in the quarter finals on Friday. An exciting game, and my condolences to the Japanese, who played some game matches.


  1. JorgeRojas86
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Nothing similar has been seen in a World Cup since Bulgaria -Peru in 1970. Perú was losing 0-2 and went 2-2 in 4 min 57 sec. Belgium did it in 4 min. 29 sec.
    Peru also won 3-2.

    • dabertini
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      I am a world cup and euro cup casual soccer fan but that third goal by belgium may be the best goal sequence I’ve ever seen.

      • nicky
        Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, very clever roll by Courtois, fast sprint by de Bruyne, pass to Meunier who created miles of space on the right, a low cross and then the most brilliant move: the ‘let through’ by Lukaku to give Chadli, with a good run in, a virtually open goal, It was so fast and ‘flowing’, beautiful. I must have replayed that movement at least half a dozen times.
        I think four of the five goals were outstanding. That unconventional header by Vertongen that surprised everybody, and the absolutely deadly accurate cannonball from Inui (A cross for a header to a tall man may be efficient, but I would not qualify it as outstanding),
        An epic match.
        I hope Belgium will win against Brazil now, Their defense is their weakest point though, which is dangerous when playing Brazil.
        I hope they win the championship.
        Belgium and Uruguay are the most impressive teams until now.

        • John Ottaway
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

          I don’t think he meant to score with that header, I think he was just putting it back across the goal for someone to get on the end of it… but they all count

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

            He definitely didn’t mean it. Not that he’ll care.

          • nicky
            Posted July 6, 2018 at 4:02 am | Permalink

            I’m not so sure it wasn’t intended, it depends on the angle you see it. Viewed from behind Vertongen it does look deliberate, not so much from the other angles.

  2. Blue
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    O my ! I am sad in re Japan !

    And i see that England made a dramatic
    penalty kick – win ! W h o a ! There are
    very many in re PCC(E)’s contest who ‘ve
    at various scoring totals chosen England
    as … … The Finalist’s Actual Winner * !

    Hhmmmm !

    ps * Not me. I am out of it all !

    • Dominic
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

      I wish it were a Belgium v France final – the two most exciting footballing teams.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        I think you could say they’re the best two teams left, but France have not been exciting in this tournament – they’ve been soporific in the group stages and only played well vs Argentina. Belgium’s only really exciting game was vs Japan, where Japan outplayed them.

        • Dominic
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          Improving teams – do not peak too early! The other half of the draw should provide cannon fodder for whoever wins the better half of the draw!

        • TJR
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          France v Argentina was pretty good. It is the first entertaining game involving France since 1986.

          France were brilliant when they had Platini and Tigana in midfield (but sadly no decent strikers), but they have been soporifically tedious ever since (though often effective).

  3. Frank Bath
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m still on for Belgium to take the cup, English though I am.

    • nicky
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      And if not Belgium, Uruguay, also a most impressive team.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 3:43 am | Permalink

      I predicted a Belgium v Croatia final with Belgium to win…

      • John Ottaway
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

        Two weeks ago I would have laughed at you, but now I think you should be burned at the stake for being a witch…

        It has been a crazy tournament so far, I hope it continues to be so

        • Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” Carl Sagan

  4. rom
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Japan can cold their heads high

    • rom
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      that is hold their heads high … bot cold is good too.

      Go England … though I am not English.

    • Dominic
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 3:45 am | Permalink

      They were awful against Poland, when they should have won that… playing for a draw is never wise.
      Great try though in that game! 🙂

  5. nicky
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    One finalist will be either
    – Uruguay, France, Brazil or Belgium,
    and the other finalist is either
    – Russia, Croatia, Sweden or England.
    I must say the first group of semi-finalists sounds more awe-inspiring, but one of the finalists will necessarily be one from the latter group.

    • simonchicago
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      “Less awe-inspiring” is a pretty charitable description of the second group.

      Sweden plays an incredibly effective defense, and an unbearably dull game. Croatia has shown signs of good play. Russia had some excellent moves mixed with unbelievable mistakes…

      All the teams in the first group had 10-minute flashes of absolutely brilliant play. If any of them could sustain it for the whole game they would be unstoppable.

  6. Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Continuing the debate I started in the last World Cup post, where I suggested that the game would be more interesting if they got rid of the goal tenders:

    My point is that the fundamental objective of competition is to determine who’s the best.

    A long, time-consuming game that typically results in scores like 1 to 0, or 2 to 1, ignores much of what happens during play, and the outcome is largely dependent upon luck. One might say that the scoring system lacks precision due to rounding errors. Games with higher scores tend to filter out luck and focus more upon skill.

    • Alan Clark
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Getting rid of the keepers would make penalties very easy, and penalty shoot-outs rather boring!

    • TJR
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      The fact that goals are difficult to score is *the whole point of the game*.

      It is precisely this fact that produces Uncertainty of Outcome. The last thing you want is a game where the better team always wins.

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