MX23RW : Wednesday, September 26 01:34:37
Jul 2, 2018 at 7pm UK at ​Rostov Arena (Rostov-na-Donu)
Attendance: 41,466
Belgium
3-2
JapanJapan
Vertonghen (69'), Fellaini (74'), Chadli (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Haraguchi (48'), Inui (52')
Shibasaki (40')

Akira Nishino: "Japan have a new opportunity"

Nishino:
© Reuters
Japan coach Akira Nishino hails his side's last-16 tie with Belgium on Monday as a "new opportunity".

Japan coach Akira Nishino has hailed his side's last-16 tie with Belgium on Monday as a "new opportunity".

The team have reached the knockout stages on two occasions, being beaten 1-0 by Turkey in 2002 and on penalties against Paraguay in 2010.

Nishino has admitted that Belgium are one of the favourites to lift the trophy on July 15, but backed his side to match the Red Devils in their encounter.

"We have been here twice in the past in round of 16 but this is different, we haven't exhausted ourselves yet so we can create a new opportunity," the manager told a press conference on Sunday. "The players and coaching staff would like to create something big tomorrow.

"In those games our players were exhausted, they had nothing left, they had left everything in the group stage. This is our third time in the last 16 and we have been very tactical in our approach. Now we can be more aggressive, we have the spirit and mentality to win and I think we can match Belgium mentally.

"The game is a huge challenge, Belgium are a formidable foe, they are among the top three in the world so we have to think hard about how we attack them as we are ranked 61st."

Japan advanced to the knockout stages thanks to the fair play rule after receiving fewer yellow cards than Senegal in their three Group H games.

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