Unbeaten in 22 games, Roberto Martinez's side can take comfort from a 1-0 victory over Japan in a friendly in Belgium last November in which their goal was scored by Romelu Lukaku, who has netted four times in two games in Russian Federation so far and who is available to face Japan after an ankle injury. "We are 61. How are we to attack them?" "There won't be any big surprises".
"When you are in the World Cup it's about achieving your aim so it's not something to criticise; the opposite".
Japan coach Akira Nishino hopes his gamble of resting players in their previous game against Poland will bear fruit on Monday against Belgium when his side will be bidding to make it third time lucky and reach the quarter-finals.
"The so-called "golden generation" weren't playing, only a few, and there were young players that showed they're ready to contribute", he said of his much-changed team. I'll have to overcome him mentally. "We have to fight and defend as a group and attack as a group".
On the eve of the clash, Paris Saint Germain defender Thomas Meunier talked about his team-mate Romelu Lukaku, who has already scored a pair of braces in two matches before sitting out the England tie: "Being the best Belgian goalscorer in history and having such an importance at Manchester United at only 25 is just impressive".
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Instead, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and the rest could only manage the familiar fate of quarter-final penalty shoot-out heartache in Euro 2004 and the World Cup in 2006, before failing to even qualify for Euro 2008 and lumbering to an inevitable round-of-16 demise at the hands of Germany in South Africa in 2010. Only introduced as a second-half substitute in the loss to Poland, his directness was badly missed early in the match in Volgograd.
Japan were pushing for a victor, but Belgium won the match at the death as Chadli finished off a pulsating counter attack in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
"Belgium is a top-three team (in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings)".
Fellaini didn't start the game. which is probably why Belgium started off so poorly.
Belgium entered the tournament as one of the favorites. Alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, he was the only player in the group stages to score with his right foot, left foot and head.
Striker set to sit out England v Belgium clash
Interestingly, now England and Belgium are on the same points, goal difference and even goals scored. Fortunately England manager Gareth Southgate is not getting carried away by the hype.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored 23 goals in 20 appearances for Belgium under manager Roberto Martinez, scoring four goals from four shots on target at this year's World Cup.
Despite being only 25 years old, the powerfully-built Lukaku already has 40 worldwide goals - including four so far in Russian Federation.
The 2002 World Cup saw Belgium drawn into the same group as 2002 World Cup co-hosts Japan, in group H. On 4th June 2002, Japan faced off against Belgium for the very first and only previous time in a World Cup, at the Saitama stadium in Japan.
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Brazil cruise into last 16 by beating Serbia
Brazil struggled in their opening two matches, first held to a 1-1 draw and then needing late goals to win the other. Serbia needed to win to qualify and rocked their opponents with a flurry of second-half chances.