Have you caught your breath, yet?
Japan and Belgium have dished up another World Cup classic for us on Monday night, with Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils producing one of the great comebacks in the history of the competition.
Belgium essentially dominated the first half against a hard-working Japan side, and went in at half time clearly on top – but level at 0-0. The first half was something of a non-event as chances came at a premium, but they were caught cold at the start of the second period. The largely unfancied but efficient Japan seized the lead with a goal from Genki Haraguchi, and that’s when it all started to pop off…
Jan Vertonghen’s poor attempt at an interception led to the chance as Japan counter attacked, but Haraguchi’s finish was put supremely into the far corner. Here’s how Twitter reacted.
Even Courtois’ height wasn’t enough to save this one. He might think twice before saying anything next time…
But before we knew it,one of the players of the tournament – Takashi Inui – fired in an absolute pearler from 25 yards to make it 2-0 and put Belgium on the brink. Japan, meanwhile, were in dreamland.
Obviously, this could only mean one thing at the time. And even Cesc Fabregas knew it…
Or, is it actually coming home?
What we went on to see was one of the finest comebacks in World Cup history. But it all started with a header into the far side of the net that Jan Vertonghen definitely meant.
Shortly after, he struck. With a header. Obviously. Anyone who ever doubted Marouane Fellaini is a bad, bad person.
With extra time and penalties looming, though, that was not going to be the end of the drama.
Japan looked tired into the latter stages, but won a corner in the last minute of injury time. But cue the scenes – Belgium broke away to score a counter-attacking goal most teams in this competition could only dream of.
Kevin de Bruyne led the charge as Belgium broke forward in numbers, he slipped it right to Thomas Meunier, and Nacer Chadli was there to tap home and finish it off.
Drink it in, man.