Belgium coach on Japan’s heartbreak: ‘That’s what happens in the World Cup’

Belgium coach on Japan’s heartbreak: ‘That’s what happens in the World Cup’

first_imgBelgium coach Roberto Martinez praised Japan for their brave display against Belgium in Rostov-On-Do in the Round of 16 clash.However, he went onto add that heartbreaks are a part of game and this is what World Cup football is all about.The Red Devils, who were down by two goals, came from behind to equalise twice before finally landing the hammer blow in the 94th minute of the match to knock Japan out and set up a quarter-final clash against Brazil on July 6.He had only good things to say about the Blue Samurais but also added that his players were strong and their desire to get back in the game says a lot about the bunch of players.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGE”Well, that’s what happens in the World Cup. You have to congratulate Japan, they played the perfect game. They were so solid, they frustrated us, then they were clinical on the counter,” said Martinez”And it was a test of the team. The reaction of everyone wanting to get back in the game. To win the game tells you everything about this group of players,” he added. Belgium were two goals down but came from behind to beat Japan 3-2 (Reuters Photo)Belgium overcome brave Japan to reach quarter-finalsThe Spaniard also praised his team for showing the winning mentality after going two goals down within a matter of four minutes at the Rostov Arena.”No negative things, believe me. Today was about going through, and we did that. Today was a day to be proud of this group of players. Keep believing. These players can. In the World Cup sometimes you want to be perfect. Football is about winning and the boys showed an incredible winning mentality today,” said the former Everton manager.advertisementBelgium, who were two goals down, got level with two headed goals from Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini in the 69th and 74th minute of the match before a lightning quick counter-attack in the 93rd minute of the match from a Japan corner completely exposed the Japanese defence. Keisuke Honda took a corner in the 93rd minute with most Japanese players up attacking but the ball went straight to Thibaut Courtois and he released Kevin De Bruyne straight away. The Manchester City midfielder ran through the Japanese players before passing it his Thomas Muenier on the right, who put it straight across the face of the goal and Romelu Lukaku cleverly sold a dummy to the Japan keeper and defenders, allowing Nacer Chadli a free hit at the goal as the goalie looked to get in the line of the ball. Eiji Kawashima didn’t succeed and the ball rattled the back of the net to complete a historic comeback and left the Japanese heartbroken in Rostov.Belgium equal a 48-year-old record: Stats and factsThe distraught Japanese, who went 2-0 up with goals by Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui early in the second half, fell to the turf after Chadli poked the ball home from Meunier’s cross four minutes into added time at the Rostov Arena. Nacer Chadli scored in the 94th minute of the match (AP Photo)Speaking about Japan’s decision to commit so many men forward in the dying minutes of the match and risking a goal in the process, Japan coach Akira Nishino said: “We wanted to finish the match, to win the match. And at that point I thought we might go into extra time. However we did not really expect that kind of super counter attack, and my players didn’tt expect within a few seconds, for the ball to be carried into our half. And that really decided the match.”One of the most exciting teams of the group phase, Belgium faced an embarrassing exit but finally clicked to become the first team to win a World Cup knockout game from two goals down since West Germany beat England 3-2 after extra time in 1970.Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ have now scored 12 goals in four games in Russia ahead of a mouthwatering last eight clash with Brazil who beat Mexico 2-0 earlier on Monday.last_img

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