It was the most agonising way for Japan to go out of the World Cup. Their players slumped to the turf as Nacer Chadli slammed the ball into the net at the end of a 94th-minute counter-attack, the last move of the game in Rostov-on-Don allowing Belgium to clinch a stunning 3-2 victory and a place in the quarter-finals.
Among the pre-tournament favourites in Russia, Eden Hazard and the Belgians march on to a last-eight meeting with Brazil. Japan were terrific and within touching distance of going where only two Asian team have.
With Maya Yoshida marshalling their back line and Eiji Kawashima – a goalkeeper whose teams have been relegated in both Scotland and France in the past three seasons – making several vital interceptions. Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui scored two well-taken goals to put Japan 2-0 up before the Red Devils made a heroic fightback. Japan earned widespread praise following their dalliance with beating all odds and progressing to the last-eight for the first time.