The win came courtesy of one final effort from the Belgium side, which came to life thanks to one of the finest counterattacks you’ll ever see and capped off by a selfless, strategic, and stylish play by Romelu Lukaku.
Below, we take you through the moments that led up to Belgium’s decisive third goal, beat-by-beat.
1. Thibaut Courtois sees the field.
After fighting back from a 2-0 deficit that Japan had built in the opening minutes of the second half, Belgium’s defense came up big once again in the final seconds of stoppage time, with keeper Courtois making a save and looking up to survey his options.
What he saw was a field wide open for a counterattack.
2. Kevin De Bruyne triggers the counter.
Courtois rolled the ball out to De Bruyne, triggering an all-out sprint toward Japan’s goal in one final effort to secure a victory.
Moving with possession, De Bruyne saw he had numbers, with five men to Japan’s four — and everyone moving in the right direction.
3. Thomas Meunier makes his run.
With the numbers on Belgium’s side, Meunier sprinted toward space, hoping to extend the team’s advantage and set up the game-winner.
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