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Japan shame World Cup yet profit from 'fair play'

World Cup
Read
 By John Duerden

South Korea, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Australia looking to January's Asian Cup

The Kwese studio panel examine the factors that led to Japan's second-half collapse against Belgium.
Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez explain what it was like seeing Mexico fans embrace South Korea during El Tri's 3-0 defeat against Sweden.
ESPN's Stephanie Brantz recaps Australia's World Cup journey and looks ahead to what's next for the Socceroos.

Asia's five teams are all home from Russia, but January's 2019 Asian Cup already looms large on the horizon.

Here's a look at lessons all the AFC nations learned from the 2018 World Cup and what needs to be done in the coming weeks and months.

South Korea

Despite the stunning 2-0 win against Germany, South Korea's World Cup was a disappointment. There were some positives with the Taeguk Warriors, however.

First and foremost, the team have their No. 1 for the Asian Cup and perhaps years to come....

Japan's lesson in manners after Belgium defeat as dressing room is spotless

Japan players gave a lesson in manners after Monday's heart-breaking defeat to Belgium in the last 16 of the World Cup by leaving their changing room at the Rostov Arena spotless.

The Blue Samurai looked to be heading for a historic win after taking a 2-0 lead early in the second half but Belgium hit back, with Nacer Chadli's goal the last kick of the game to win it 3-2.

Despite the sadness and disappointment at their elimination, the Japan players stuck around after the final whistle to thank their...

The nature of Belgium's dramatic win over Japan could spell trouble for Brazil test

Belgium erased a two-goal deficit in dramatic fashion to eliminate Japan and advance to the World Cup quarterfinals.
Belgium are through to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, but the FC crew are left unimpressed after the Red Devils' comeback against Japan.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- Monday's game kicked off at 3 a.m. Tokyo time. An unsociable hour, so provisions were made, specifically by Tokoji Temple in Shizuoka, which opened its doors to allow local fans to watch their Japan side play Belgium in an atmosphere of zen Buddhist calm. One hopes a few of them took up the offer, because it might be the only way of reconciling how Japan managed to lose.

Belgium will need no such cerebral soothing. Through by the skin of their teeth, a team featuring Romelu...

 By John Duerden

Takashi Inui dazzles again but Japan fall heartbreakingly short vs. Belgium

Belgium are through to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, but the FC crew are left unimpressed after the Red Devils' comeback against Japan.

On a heartbreaking evening, Genki Haraguchi put Japan ahead early in the second half and then Takashi Inui added a second shortly after. The Samurai Blue looked set for a first ever quarterfinal before Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini put Belgium back on level terms, and then substitute Nacer Chadli won it for the Red Devils 3-2 in the final seconds.

Positives

Japan worked extremely hard and had some good periods. Even when they were put under serious pressure by Belgium, the team kept their...

Belgium complete remarkable rally from 2-0 down to defeat Japan

Belgium are through to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, but the FC crew are left unimpressed after the Red Devils' comeback against Japan.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- Three points from a stunning last-16 encounter as Belgium defeated Japan 3-2 with virtually the last kick of the game.

1. How did Belgium manage that?

Someone is scripting this World Cup. They must be. There's no other rational explanation for it. We got another astonishing game Monday night when Belgium, who were 2-0 down to Japan after 10 minutes of the second half, stole a victory with the very last kick of the game.

Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui had put Japan...

A two-goal comeback after 48 years, and a new high for AFC

Belgium looked to be down and out early in the second half. Japan looked to be heading to the World Cup quarterfinals. And then, everything changed.


Nacer Chadli completes Belgium's epic comeback

48

Belgium are the first team to have come back from a 2-0 deficit and registered a win in a World Cup knockout game in 48 years, emulating West Germany's quarterfinal win over England in 1970, when they won 3-2 in extra-time after trailing 2-0 at one stage.

3

Japan have been knocked out in the round of 16 for the third time, after losing to...