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Japan loses to Belgium but wins hearts after cleaning up stadium

04 July 2018

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Belgium's opponents, Brazil, defeated Mexico by 2-0 in their last-16 match.

They look like serious contenders, while for Spain their elimination is a disaster - they had been considered among the favourites but had their preparations ruined when coach Julen Lopetegui was sensationally sacked on the eve of the tournament. "We were leading and we were going to win, but I didn't expect this reversal of the result".

"We know what to do and not what to do", Hazard continued. "This is our third time in the last 16 and we have been very tactical in our approach", Nishino said.

This is perhaps Belgium's best chance of going deep into a World Cup, with numerous pre-tournament favourites either out or playing in unconvincing fashion in their games so far.

So much for this being a "World" Cup. We have 23 players, which we saw against England.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Brazil vs Mexico, Belgium vs Japan football matches will take place on Monday, July 2, 2018.

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"It's time to shine, definitely", Hazard said.

Japan's victory over 10-man Colombia in their opening fixture was the first competitive win for the continent over a South American side, while South Korea's defeat of the defending champions in their final group match was simply extraordinary.

"When we went 2-0 down (against Japan) there was the psychological feeling of "ok, we have nothing to lose", which freed us up. We will see at the end what happens", he told reporters on Sunday. They have never won a knockout-round game at the competition.

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

A so-called "golden generation" of Belgian stars are running out of time to win a major title but Hazard said they have a chance to make their rich talents count in Russian Federation.

Japan loses to Belgium but wins hearts after cleaning up stadium