World Cup 2018: Belgium vs Japan - preview, team news, predicted XI, prediction, head to head & interesting stats
Belgium started off their World Cup in great fashion as they thumped Panama 3-0 courtesy of Dries Mertens and a Romelu Lukaku brace. The second match saw Belgium continuing their menacing form as they thrashed Tunisia 5-2 with Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard scoring a brace while Batshuayi scoring in the 90th minute to make it 5.
In a much-changed third match against England, which saw Belgium make 8 changes and yet still managing a 1-0 victory with a goal from Adnan Januzaj helping them qualify as Group G toppers. Belgium will be hoping to qualify to their second successive final berth as they face off against Japan.
Japan started off their World Cup campaign with a victory over 10-man Colombia as Shinji Kagawa and Inui scored for the Japs to win 2-1 over Colombia. The second match saw Japan coming from behind to secure a 2-2 draw against Senegal.
The third match saw Japan getting beaten 1-0 by Poland but still advancing to the knockout stages as the second in H after Senegal were eliminated on Fairplay rule.
Belgium is expected to recall all the 8 players that were rested against England.
Vincent Kompany may replace Boyata in defence as the Belgium player has successfully recovered from injury.
Japan is likely to make an unchanged starting line-up
Possible line-ups for both the teams
Belgium XI: Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier, Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku
Japan XI: Eiji Kawashima, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Gen Shoji, Yuto Nagatomo, Makoto Hasebe, Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui, Yuya Osako
Head to Head Stats
Belgium has won only one of their previous 5 matches with Japan with the only victory coming in 2017.
Belgium and Japan have met each other in the group stages of 2002 World Cup with the match ending 2-2.
Belgium has reached the knockout stages of the World Cup in 6 of the 7 previous World Cups.
Japan has never won a World Cup knockout stage match.
Match Date: 2 July 2018, Monday
Match Timing: 23:30 IST
Match Venue: Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Belgium 3-0 Japan