x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

World Cup 2018: Day 19 as it happened - Nacer Chadli scores stoppage-time winner as Belgium come from two down to beat Japan

Neymar and Roberto Firmino on target for Brazil earlier as they defeated Mexico 2-0

Nacer Chadli celebrates his winning goal for Belgium against Japan. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images
Nacer Chadli celebrates his winning goal for Belgium against Japan. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images

12.35am - Tuesday's action

Wow. 40 minutes after the game ended and still hard to believe what unfolded there between Belgium and Japan.

It is going to take Japan a long time to get over that. But for Belgium, they will now feel anything is possible if they can survive being two down with 21 minutes to go.

We now know three of our four quarter-final line-ups with Brazil v Belgium now pencilled in, alongside Uruguay v France and Russia v Croatia.

We will find out the final one on Tuesday after Sweden v Switzerland at 6pm UAE time and England v Colombia at 10pm.

Those games have a lot to live up to after Monday's action.

11.55pm - Belgium win 3-2 to set up Brazil clash

Right, well that was something wasn't it?

Heartbreak for Japan as Belgium pull off the great escape as Nacer Chadli scores in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Belgium a 3-2 win - after they had trailed by two goals with 21 minutes remaining.

Japan stunned Belgium three minutes after half time as Genki Haraguchi drilled home a shot after Belgium had been caught on the break.

Takashi Inui then doubled the lead four minutes later with a great strike from just outside the area.

Belgium were reeling at this point, but were give a lifeline when Jan Vertonghen pulled one back with 21 minutes to go, and Roberto Martinez's levelled when Marouane Fellaini headed home Eden Hazard's cross in the 74th minute.

Both sides had late chances, but just as extra time was on the horizon, Belgium caught Japan on the break and Chadli was on hand to book a date with Brazil on Friday.

10.50pm Goalless at half time between Belgium and Japan

This feels like a case of when, not if, Belgium score. Which is obviously tempting fate so I apologise to any Belgian fans for that.

Belgium the better side but the final ball has been lacking.

Japan are wary of Romelu Lukaku, but have so far contained him.

10pm: Belgium v Japan is underway

Brazil have done the business today. Now it is who gets the honour of meeting them in Kazan on Friday. Belgium or Japan.

Belgium start as favourites, having won all three games in Group G to get here, but as Spain, Argentina and other sides will attest, being expected to win does not mean you will.

7.55pm: Brazil reach quarter-finals

For the seventh successive World Cup Brazil are in the quarter-finals.

They had to be patient against Mexico but second half goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino have ensured Tite's men are through to the last eight.

Brazil will next play either Belgium or Japan, who meet at 10pm in today's second game, in Kazan on Friday.

____________

6.50pm: Brazil and Mexico goalless at half time

Stalemate so far in Samara. Mexico have looked dangerous on the break, but Brazil have become more dangerous as the half wore on.

Neymar and Philippe Coutinho have both gone close from positions where they might have done better, and Tite will be confident his Brazilian side can go on and win this comfortably if they can just improve their quality in the final third after the restart.

6.25pm: Brazil v Mexico underway

The first game of the day on Day 19 at the World Cup is go. It is goalless between Brazil and Mexico after 25 minutes. Both sides have had good moments in an enjoyable game with the only thing missing being a goal.

4.20pm: Hazard's time to shine at the World Cup

Just in case you thought we had forgot there was another game taking place today other than Brazil v Mexico, we haven't.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were the leading attractions at the World Cup, but now that they have been sent packing, Belgian Eden Hazard believes it might be his time to shine on the biggest stage.

Both players have won the Ballon d'Or, football's biggest individual prize, every year between themselves since 2008 - five each. However, Messi's Argentina lost 4-3 to France and Ronaldo's Portugal were beaten 2-1 by Uruguay in the last 16 on Saturday.

It leaves room for others to grab some of the limelight, which France's Kylian Mbappe did in style in Kazan by outshining Messi.

Hazard, 27, has so far, however, disappointed in major tournaments.

At the 2014 World Cup, Belgium reached the quarter-finals, losing to eventual runners-up Argentina, but Hazard was a pale shadow of his brilliant club self.

Two years later, they progressed to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals but were surprisingly knocked out by Wales with Hazard unable to run riot.

"I hope [I can shine]. Ronaldo and Messi are not in the World Cup anymore so now it's time to shine," Hazard told a news conference on Sunday ahead of their last-16 tie against Japan at the Rostov Arena on Monday.

"I just want to go through to the quarters and the semis."

Belgium captain Eden Hazard attends a press conference in Rostov-on-Don. EPA
Belgium captain Eden Hazard attends a press conference in Rostov-on-Don. EPA

___________________

3.20pm: Iniesta calls it a day

Emotional scenes last night in Moscow as Spain legend Andres Iniesta announced his international retirement following the team's exit from the 2018 World Cup

Stopping for the assembled journalists deep inside the Luzhniki Stadium, he confirmed that his days in Spanish red were done.

“Today was my last game with the national team,” said Iniesta, who started the last-16 clash with Russia on the bench and was not introduced until the 67th minute. "Sometimes the endings are not as one dreams.”

Iniesta described the 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to the hosts, after the match had ended 1-1, as the saddest day of an international career that spanned 12 years and 131 caps. In that time, he helped seal success at the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, and scored the goal to clinch the 2010 World Cup, although Spain's past three major tournaments have ended before the quarter-final stage.

Goodbye, Andres. Thank you for the wonderful memories.

Andres Iniesta's last kick in a Spain shirt was a successful penalty in the shoot-out against Russia, but it wasn't enough to stop them crashing out of the 2018 World Cup. Peter Powell / EPA
Andres Iniesta's last kick in a Spain shirt was a successful penalty in the shoot-out against Russia, but it wasn't enough to stop them crashing out of the 2018 World Cup. Peter Powell / EPA

___________________

1.53pm: Brazil v Mexico

The last-16 round continues today with a cracking line-up in store.

First up we have five-time winners Brazil up against Mexico, which kicks off in Samara at 6pm UAE.

Mexico have long been deemed the bogey team for Brazil. It’s not so much a long record of underdog victories as the fact the Mexicans have proved awkward on significant, showpiece occasions. There was the Olympic final in 2012; there was Fortaleza at the last World Cup. There’s more. Most of the current Brazil team are old enough to remember the shock losses in the Gold Cups of 1996 and 2003.

Mexico’s Rafa Marquez, the most evergreen footballer, at 39, still competing in this World Cup, is old enough to remember a famous win, back in the last century, very vividly.

Read Ian Hawkey's preview ahead of Monday's match to find out more.

Mexico midfielder Rafael Marquez, 39, competing in his fifth World Cup, is old enough to remember a famous win, back in the last century, over Brazil, in the 1999 Confederations Cup final. Yuri Cortez / AFP
Mexico midfielder Rafael Marquez, 39, competing in his fifth World Cup, is old enough to remember a famous win, back in the last century, over Brazil, in the 1999 Confederations Cup final. Yuri Cortez / AFP

Despite Mexico's penchant for spoiling Brazil's party's, the Selecao, boasting the outrageous attacking skills of Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and the world's most expensive player Neymar, will go into the match as favourites.

But even footballing greats sometimes need support. With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo having said their goodbyes to Russia on Saturday evening, the protagonists’ spotlight falls next at the feet of Brazil’s Neymar.

No other player is deemed as much of a game-changer as the Paris Saint-Germain forward and on Monday he will be expected to succeed where the others failed — helping his side progress to the quarter-finals.

The five-time champions face Mexico in Samara and while few countries are more renowned for producing world-beaters, Brazil must not rely solely on their star forward, says defensive midfielder Casemiro.

Casemiro, left, wants Brazil not to solely rely on Neymar for inspiration when Brazil take on Mexico in the second round on Monday. Hannah McKay / Reuters
Casemiro, left, wants Brazil not to solely rely on Neymar for inspiration when Brazil take on Mexico in the second round on Monday. Hannah McKay / Reuters

___________________

1pm: '180!' Anyone for a game of darts?

England play Colombia in their World Cup last-16 match on Tuesday in what is one of the biggest games in the country's recent history.

But if there was any pressure, you couldn't tell it on the players' faces on Sunday.

Captain Harry Kane played darts with a member of the media with a big smile on his face and appeared relaxed when talking to journalists and colleagues.

Elsewhere at England's team base in Repino, Russia, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard played a game of bowling in front of the cameras; laughing and having a good time.

The two forwards even felt cheeky enough to nab a croissant each as they left the media area.

England will train at their team base on Monday before travelling to Moscow ahead of Tuesday's match at the city's Spartak Stadium.

___________________

11am: No sympathy for Ramos

The sight of a grown man crying is never fun to see, particularly if it's the result of seeing your team get eliminated from the World Cup.

Spain captain Sergio Ramos was in floods of tears following a penalty shoot-out defeat to host nation Russia on Sunday, with Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saving the spot kicks of Koke and Iago Aspas to see Russia advance 4-3 after the match had ended 1-1 after extra time.

But not many had sympathy for the Real Madrid defender.

Many supporters still hold Ramos responsible for denying us the best of Egypt superstar Mohamed Salah at the World Cup after injuring the Liverpool forward in the Uefa Champions League final, and were quick to lay the boot in on the Spaniard on Twitter.

The pair had met three weeks before the start of the tournament in the final of the Champions League on May 26.

Ramos was accused of setting out to deliberately hurt the Liverpool forward as they tussled for a ball, resulting in Salah needing medical treatment before eventually being substituted midway through the first half, leaving the field in tears. Ramos had been accused of mocking the stricken Salah in the aftermath.

Without their talisman, who had single-handedly destroyed Manchester City and Roma in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to set up a showdown with Real Madrid in Kiev, Liverpool lost the match 3-1, with Ramos lifting the trophy for a third successive season.

The injury forced Salah, 26, who on Monday signed a new long-term deal with Liverpool, to miss Egypt's opening group game, a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay. Although Salah played and scored in the subsequent defeats to Russia and Saudi Arabia, the Pharaohs finished bottom of Group A with their star player unable to reproduce the form that had brought 44 goals in the 2017/18 season.

Looks like karma has come back to bite Ramos hard.

Spain's Sergio Ramos looks dejected after losing the penalty shoot-out to Russia. Christian Hartmann / Reuters
Spain's Sergio Ramos looks dejected after losing the penalty shoot-out to Russia. Christian Hartmann / Reuters

______________

Read more:

Missed chances and slow starts: Assessing the Arab sides at World Cup 2018

Mohamed Salah apologies to Egypt fans following World Cup exit and vows 'we will be back again in 2022'

In pictures: Mohamed Salah shows disappointment as his World Cup ends

Mohamed Salah plays down retirement rumours after Egypt bow out of World Cup

______________

8.40am: Russia goes wild, Modric atones

Good morning.

Another emotional night of football, full of heartbreak and drama, where heroes emerged and superstars bowed out.

There were unbelievable scenes in Moscow as Spain crashed out of the World Cup following a 4-3 defeat to Russia in a penalty shoot-out.

After the match ended all square at 1-1 after 90 minutes and then extra time, fans witnessed the first penalty shoot-out of the 2018 World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium. Igor Akinfeev was the hero for Russia, denying first Koke and then Iago Aspas with his left foot to send the host nation through to a first quarter-final since 1966.

For Spain, who lest we forget sacked their manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament, it is most likely to herald the end of a golden age with the likes of Andres Iniesta likely to have played his final match for La Roja.

Our football reporter John McAuley was in Moscow to witness the joy of the home supporters as Akineev saved Aspas' decisive kick, describing scenes inside the Luzhniki Stadium as "bonkers" with the "roar incredible, the result just as much".

Russia are the lowest-ranked nation in the tournament -- a lowly 70th in the world -- and were not expected to progress beyond the first round but they now find themselves in the last eight.

"We were hoping for penalties," Akinfeev said after the match ended 1-1 after extra time, following a Sergei Ignashevich own goal and an assured Artem Dzyuba penalty.

"We are having a fantastic World Cup. Not just our fans, but the fans of other countries are getting a sense of this atmosphere and understood that Russians really know how to play football and want to play football."

WATCH: Dancing on the streets of Moscow

Russia will next face Croatia, who were also taken penalties by Denmark at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

Croatia captain Luka Modric failed from 12 yards with the sides locked together at 1-1 after 120 minutes in their last-16 clash, but converted from the spot at the second time of asking as goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three Danish penalties to lay the foundation for a 3-2 win.

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic saluted Modric after the match, saying: "He took the responsibility as a true captain. He scored and it speaks volumes about Luka.

"He said he wanted to take one in the penalty shoot-out - can you imagine what would have happened had he not scored? This shows the qualities of a great player and Luka is a great player."

If it was Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic who ultimately sent Croatia through with his side's fifth spot-kick, it was Subasic who was the hero after saving from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen to book a quarter-final showdown with hosts Russia.

INTERACTIVE: World Cup wall chart

Dalic said: "He was our hero tonight. He saved three penalties in the penalty shoot-out - you don't see that every day. He pulled us out when we needed it most."

Mathias Jorgensen's first-minute opener handed the Danes the perfect start, but the lead lasted just three minutes as Mario Mandzukic levelled.

However, despite the early promise, the game failed to deliver as Denmark spiked the Croatian guns for long periods, although Modric should have won it after Mathias Jorgensen felled Ante Rebic inside the box in the 116th minute.

But Modric saw his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel, much to the delight of his father Peter watching on in the crowd.

Dalic admitted his team was far from at its best, but praised the fighting spirit of his players and warned them that will need to be just as resilient against the Russians.

He said: "This is going to be a huge match. We cannot relax, we must be even stronger and more stable because we are going to play a very difficult opponent, a great opponent.

"We will not let our guard down, there can be no arrogance going forward. We are happy with what we have achieved, but we know we have to do more."

______________

Read more:

Zlatko Dalic: Croatia have no intention of stopping at World Cup quarter-finals

John McAuley: Russia rumble on at World Cup as Akinfeev the hero in shoot-out win over Spain

Ronaldo and Messi - constant companions destined to never win the World Cup

Marcus Berg: Sweden 'have proven to everyone what we are capable of' at World Cup

Ian Hawkey: Mexico, Brazil's bogey team, looking to make it to 'the fifth game' at a World Cup for the first time in 32 years

______________