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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 18 September, 2018
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Liveblog

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Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail paul@the42.ie, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off for the game is at 7pm.

1Mins

We’re under way…

2Mins

Promising start for Japan.

Kagawa fires just wide from the edge of the box.

6Mins

Not too much has happened so far.

It’s been a relatively cagey start.

9Mins

Japan have started quite well.

They’re enjoying plenty of possession and territory in the opening stages.

16Mins

Witsel’s shot is deflected just over.

There’s been plenty of patient build-up play from both sides, but little in the way of end product thus far.

17Mins

Lukaku receives the ball via the head of Meunier, and his shot just inside the box is deflected wide.

Belgium are coming more into this game now.

21Mins

Nagatomo gets in a good block to deny Lukaku a clear shot.

Japan have handled Belgium’s potent attack very well so far.

25Mins

Belgium are looking frustrated at the moment. They don’t look like finding a way past Japan’s stubborn backline as it stands.

As I type though, there’s a half-chance, as Lukaku fails to properly control a dangerous Mertens cross.

31Mins

Kompany is very close to directing the ball into the net from a cross, while moments earlier, Kawashima had to parry a powerful Hazard shot.

Belgium are really beginning to up the tempo and pile on the pressure now.

Down the other end, Japan go close, but Inui’s header is straight at Courtois.

35Mins

Belgium are looking a little vulnerable on the counter-attack.

If Japan could be more clinical, there might be some joy for them here.

40Mins

Shibasaki gets the first booking of the game for cynically taking down Hazard.

This game is still very even, with clear-cut chances few and far between.

43Mins

Japan might find it hard as the game develops to maintain this level of concentration.

They’ve spent a lot of time chasing the ball.

45Mins

Courtois has a nervy moment, as he almost lets Ōsako’s attempt slip through his fingers, but gathers at the second attempt.

There will be one minute of additional time.

47Mins

The second half has begun…

50Mins

Japan counter and Vertonghen fails to cut out a through pass, before Haraguchi makes no mistake with the finish, which is just the Asian side’s second shot on target.

Moments after the goal, Hazard hits the post from the edge of the area.

Is it going to be one of those nights for Belgium?

55Mins

Kompany’s header only half clears it.

Inui receives the ball on the edge of the area and fires an unstoppable shot past Courtois.

Japan are in dreamland right now.

59Mins

Japan continue to threaten.

Haraguchi’s cross is headed clear by Witsel.

61Mins

Big chance!

Meunier crosses for Lukaku, who heads wide with the goal at his mercy.

64Mins

Sakai gets forward well from right back.

His cross is cleared via the foot of Courtois.

67Mins

Belgium make a double change with Fellaini replacing Mertens and Chadli coming on for Carrasco.

They look panic-stricken right now.

70Mins

Vertonghen’s header has given Belgium hope.

Can Belgium secure a dramatic late equaliser now?

72Mins

Nagatomo’s cross is intercepted by Alderweireld.

Japan are still not afraid to get players forward.

Down the other end, Belgium break, and De Bruyne’s shot on the edge of the area is deflected off target.

73Mins

What a comeback!

Hazard’s cross finds substitute Fellaini, who heads home.

78Mins

81Mins

Japan look tired now, with Belgium pushing for a winner.

The Asian side make a double substitution they hope will provide them with an injection of energy — Shibasaki and Haraguchi are replaced by Honda and Yamaguchi.

83Mins

Chance for Japan.

Honda is played through, but he can only find the side netting from a tight angle.

86Mins

Kawashima makes two brilliant quick-fire saves to deny efforts from both Lukaku and Chadli.

What a game this has been!

87Mins

89Mins

Sakai desperately clears after a good run by Chadli.

Both Belgium’s substitutes have had a positive impact on this game.

91Mins

Courtois does well to make a save, as Witsel almost turns a cross into his own net.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time.

90Mins

Belgium break, Meunier crosses and Chadli finishes.

That is surely that.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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