Belgium vs Japan (World Cup Last 16 Preview)

Monday @ 7pm: Belgium vs Japan

 

Story of the Tie

Belgium have easily looked the most impressive team of the tournament so far, although that might be due to the fact that no big side seems to actually want to win the damn thing.  Belgium cruised through the first 2 group games against the easy opposition of Tunisia and Panama before their B Team defeated England’s B Team.

Japan on the other hand have not looked convincing.  They did well to qualify from a group of closely matched teams, defeating Colombia in the first game before drawing to Senegal and then getting beat by Poland.  It’s hard to see how they stand a chance in this one.

 

What’s been said

“This Japan team shows a lot of good experience, a lot of players who have played in big leagues in Europe for a long time. They know what it takes to win a game of this calibre. This is a group of players that know what they are doing. I expect a very difficult game.” – Belgium Manager Roberto Martinez

“There are many different aspects, and it is really tense when it comes to a penalty shootout. Therefore, I don’t think it is really useful to practice for a penalty shootout, per se…We haven’t actually practiced” – Japan Manager Akira Nishino

 

Prediction

Belgium to run riot and place themselves as firms favourites for the competition.  Japan to be shell-shocked and struggle to keep pace.