Halftime: Belgium 0-0 Japan 22 games unbeaten Belgium kick off proceedings in this R16 game at the Rostov Arena. Japan get the ball and Kagawa fires wide with his weaker foot. Mertens with a superb cross from the right to find Lukaku but the burly striker can’t quite sort his feet out and the keeper recovers the ball. Lucky escape for Japan.
Japan attack down the left and Kagawa enters the box. His backheel to Nagamoto allows the fullback to swing in a cross and Inui’s header is on target but straight at Courtois.
Nagatomo’s shot goes straight to Osako at the near post, who is too surprised about it to spin and slam it in. It rolls off his toe and straight to Courtois, who bends down to pick it up and somehow misses it. Sadly nobody is on hand to convert this from embarrassing mistake to one of the all-time great World Cup goalie howlers.
No stoppage time necessary here. It’s been sterile but played at a good tempo with plenty of interesting stuff happening. It is goalless, but for the entire game it has felt like one is just about to happen.