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Belgium vs Japan : What To Expect, Whom To Watch Out For As Unstoppable Belgium Look To Go On and On

Belgium Vs Japan, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia

Belgium Vs Japan | 2018 FIFA World Cup, Round Of 16 | Monday, 2 July

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Belgium take on Japan in the Round of 16 Belgium Vs Japan clash in Rostov Arena after handing England their first loss of the campaign.

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A win over The Three Lions in their final group stage game has landed Belgium in a rather easy Round of 16 tie what should be straightforward on paper with a possibility of meeting Brazil in the Quarter-finals.

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The Round of 16 so far has seen some unexpected turn around of events especially an astonishing knocking of Spain by the hands of the tournament hosts Russia who delivered some exceptional performances in the group stages. It is more than likely that Japan will pack their bags to join Argentina, Portugal and Spain in heading home unless the underdogs have a surprise package to deliver.

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Head-To-Head:

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The two sides have met 5 times before with Japan winning two and drawing two. The previous Belgium Vs Japan encounter was an international friendly in 2017 which resulted in a 1-o win for Belgium thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal.

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Belgium:

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Belgium come into this game after beating England 1-0 with not so familiar faces and extending their 22 game unbeaten run, their longest ever. The tournament’s top scorers have been ruthless so far after winning all the 3 games in the group stages with a 3-0 win over Panama and 5-2 win against Tunisia and with this golden generation of players they are tipped to get their hands on their trophy.

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A topic of concern for Roberto Martinez’s will be the number of players starting the game on yellow cards including Thomas Meunier, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker. The Belgium Vs Japan fixture will be a test of patience for many.

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“Now we need to focus on Japan. England will play Colombia and if you start thinking any further than that, you’re risking a lot,”

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“I think it is a really dynamic team, very well organised and technically structured. Japanese football is really strong and we expected a really competitive game. I don’t think there will be big surprises when we face each other”

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-Belgium Coach Roberto Martinez

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Key Players:

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Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)

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After not being risked in the game against England, the Manchester United man is back to full fitness and will be looking to grab some more goals in the Belgium Vs Japan match after missing a game to make it back to the top of the Golden Boot race. Romelu Lukaku has scored 4 of Belgium’s 9 goals and sits second, one behind England’s Harry Kane.

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Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

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A leader on and off the pitch, Eden Hazard has been vital for Belgium in their World Cup campaign so far netting 2 goals against Tunisia. Rested along with 8 other players in the previous game he will be coming into the Belgium Vs Japan game fresh and sharp to lead his team to the Quarter-finals.

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Dries Mertens was saying :

“I remember the Wales game. Everyone thought we were going to go through, no problem. And then suddenly, we’re out of the tournament.

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“We’re not going to under-estimate Japan because they have a strong team. If they have got this far, it means they’re a good side.”

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Predicted Line-Up:

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Roberto Martinez is likely to resort to the previous line-up who managed back-to-back wins against Panama and Tunisia bringing in Vincent Kompany in place of Boyota, who has recovered from injury.

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Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld; Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier; Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard; Romelu Lukaku

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Belgium Vs Japan, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia
Predicted Lineup For Belgium

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Japan:

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Japan started their World Cup campaign in style beating Colombia 1-0 in their opening group stage and giving us one of the upsets of the first round. That match also set a record of an Asian team beating an South American team for the first time.

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Moving on after a 1-0 defeat to Poland, Japan will have to re-organize their side to stand as a threat for Belgium who have emerged as the tournament favourites and are unbeaten in 22 games now. It will take something extra-ordinary for this Japan side who have faced criticism for running down the clock in their final group game only to lose 1-0 and qualify on fewer yellow cards on Senegal’s expense.

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Kawashima, Hasebe, Tomoaki Makino and Takashi Inui are on yellow cards, so it will be interesting to see how Japan set themselves up in order to go through.

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Key Players :

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Shinji Kagawa and Takashi Inui

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Japan’s attacking midfielders and wingers will have a key role to play in the Belgium Vs Japan game running down the flanks to supply Osako.

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Southampton Defender Maya Yoshida said :

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“We have never got to the quarterfinal before. It’s a new challenge for us to get through, and hopefully we will make a new history for Japanese football. 

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“I know Lukaku is a fantastic player and I cannot stop him by myself. We have to fight and defend as a group and attack as a group.”

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Predicted Line-Up:

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Eiji Kawashima; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo; Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki; Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui; Yuya Osako

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Belgium Vs Japan, FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia
Predicted Lineup For Japan

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Match Prediction:

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Considering the form Belgium has been in, this should go in favor of Belgium. I predict a 2-0 win for The Red Devils in the Belgium Vs Japan fixture.

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Let us know your predictions in the comments below.

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Keep visiting Arsedevils for more news and updates on the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia.

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Mudit Budhiraja
Born and raised in gurgaon, A simple down to earth guy who is always looking to spread positive vibes wherever he rolls. Persuing a degree in Statistics from Delhi University also has a keen interest in music when ever he is not binge watching TV shows.
https://arsedevils.com

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