Belgium and Japan delivered one of the most exciting halves of the World Cup on Monday, capped off by a game-winning goal in stoppage time.
One of the most exciting halves, if not the most exciting this year, of World Cup soccer took place between Belgium and Japan on Monday. Takashi Inui and Genki Haraguchi put the Japanese up 2-0 with a pair of goals within four minutes of each other to open the second stanza. Belgium rallied to even the score in regulation before Nacer Chadli knocked in the game-winning score, completing a mad dash down the field in stoppage time that compares to Landon Donovan's goal for Team USA against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup.
We break down all the excitement in our latest World Cup Daily podcast. Listen to the full episode below, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to hear each episode throughout the 2018 World Cup.
Here's a snippet of the latest episode:
BRIAN STRAUS: The winning goal (for Belgium), I had a déjà vu sensation as soon as Courtois grabbed the ball and looked up, I saw Timmy Howard against Algeria. It was the same thing. Obviously the throws were from different places but something about the throw, something about debrowna on the run, Landon on the run, I just knew that was going in.
The way Japan was slow to react to that counter. The kind of space that De Bruyne had in front of him. The commitment that he had to impose himself on that space and take it, you know. That was a goal. At midfield, this is a goal.
Lukaku's dummy was pretty sweet too. Obviously that was not analogous to Landon's, because with Landon's the ball kind of popped out. But I still had that same feeling that I did that day in Pretoria watching that play unfold. It was a wonderful finish and the fact that it was essentially the last kick in the game, it was just super dramatic.
Maybe I'm biased against the big teams or for the big teams, sorry, I'm still going to carry the memory of that second half of France and Argentina I think a bit longer. The passing of the torch from Messi to Mbappe. But today was pretty awesome too.
GRANT WAHL: I thought it was fantastic. The record's going to show that Romelu Lukaku did not score in this game and missed multiple chances ... where you were like "How did he miss that?" And yet that dummy, at that speed, at that moment in the game, in that situation? That's crazy.
BS: At that point of the game, you're tired. You're mentally fatigued. And maybe you're frustrated because you haven't scored when you should have. And to have the presence of mind and the soccer smarts to make that play there ... very, very, very impressive. Overall they deserved to win, even though Japan made them work for every inch of it. I agree that was a statement that Belgium showed: They can take a punch in the mouth and not fall apart.
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