Belgium take on Japan the Round of 16 fixture of the World Cup today at the Rostov Arena today. Japan are the only Asian team alive in the tournament and have been impressive throughout.
Belgium have one of the strongest squads in the world cup on paper they had a very easy group stage winning all three of their games scoring 9 goals. The likes of Eden Hazard, Lukaku, De Bruyne and Mertens have been in great for this tournament and Japanese defence will have their tasks cut out against them.
This is often described as golden generation of Belgian players and the expectations from them are sky-high. In the last 2 tournaments they participated they failed to live up to their expectations mostly due to the poor tactics of their manager.
Akira Nishino took over Japan just two months before the world cup and has completely turned their tides.Japan were written of before the tournament started due to their poor form, they were not expected to make out of a group consisting of Colombia, Poland and Senegal. To the surprise of many they defeated Colombia 2-1 in their opening fixture.
They have been technically brilliant and aggressive, the likes of Honda and Kagawa have been very impressive. Japan are expected to be defensive and play of the counter attack, they will press high and take the wingbacks out of equation.
Predicted Line-ups and Score-line
Belgium (3-4-3) Courtois; Vertonghen- Boyata – Alderweireld ; Munier – Witsel – De Bruyne – Carasco ; Hazard – Lukaku – Mertens
Japan (4-2-3-1) Kawashima; Sakai- Yoshida – Shoji -Nagatomo; Hasebe-Shibasaki; Honda- Kagawa- Inui; Osako
prediction 2-0 victory for Belgium