Belgium avoid another World Cup shock with thrilling comeback win over Japan

Belgium have avoided another World Cup shock after coming from behind to beat Japan 3-2 in a thrilling last-16 clash.

The Red Devils found themselves 2-0 down early in the second half after Japan scored a quick-fire double.

But Roberto Martinez’s team, which features numerous Premier League stars, rallied in stunning fashion to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against Brazil on Friday.

The scenes at full-time were a far cry from early in the second half, which saw Japan race into the lead in a frenetic period of play.

Genki Haraguchi capitalised on an error from Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen and fired a low shot past Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois three minutes after the restart.

Inui wheels away in delight after scoring Japan’s second

Takashi Inui doubled Japan’s lead on 52 minutes, bending in a sumptuous strike beyond the despairing dive of Courtois.

Vertonghen made amends for his error in the 69th minute, looping a header into the net to give his team hope.

It was another header that saw Belgium, fancied by many as dark horses to win the tournament, restore parity.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who had hit the post moments before Japan went 2-0 up, crossed for Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini to nod home in the 74th minute.

Both sides pressed for a winner in a bid to avoid extra-time, but it looked like both sets of players would have to steel themselves for another 30 minutes of play.

But Nacer Chadli finished off a counter-attack – following a deft dummy from Romelu Lukaku – to give Belgium a remarkable victory.

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