Belgium v Japan: Who will win? (pre-match analysis)
July 2, 2018 11:27 AM NPT
The leading goalscorers in the group phase take on Asia’s last remaining representatives as Belgium meet Japan in the final 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ match to be hosted at Rostov Arena.
The Red Devils are aiming to reach their third World Cup quarter-final (after Mexico 1986 and Brazil 2014) and equal their world finals record of four consecutive wins, set four years ago. Their unbeaten 22-match run – the longest in Belgium’s history – reflects the quality of a hugely talented side.
Japan advanced from the group phase on fair play points and are intent on winning a last-16 tie for the first time ever. They have the experience to do just that: Eiji Kawashima, Makoto Hasebe, Yuto Nagatomo and Shinji Okazaki are each set to play their 11th world finals matches, a national record. Along with Keizuke Honda, they will be looking to make up for the defeat to Paraguay at South Africa 2010, the last time that the Japanese featured in the knockout rounds.