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01 Jul 2018 by TSZ

2018 FIFA World Cup – Belgium vs Japan Preview



When? Monday 2nd July, 19:00

Where? Rostov Arena

What channel is it on? BBC

Where can I stream the match? BBC license holders can stream the match online via BBC iPlayer

Are tickets still available?



  • Belgium rested virtually all of their regular starters but still managed to beat England and top their group with a 100% winning record.
  • There is no doubt that Martinez will bring back all his key men with the only doubt being whether he sticks with Boyata or brings Kompany in.
  • Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard were both carrying knocks, but they will start this game even if Lukaku is still not 100% fit.

Predicted line-up (3-4-2-1):


Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen

Meunier, De Bruyne, Witsel, Carrasco

Mertens, E. Hazard

R. Lukaku

Unavailable: None

Doubtful: None


  • Japan lost their final group match against Poland but scraped through to the knockouts due to having a better fair play record than Senegal.
  • Coach Akira Nishino may revert to something closer to the starting line-up from their opening match as they bolster their midfield.
  • Okazaki is their only injury concern so they may bring Osako back into the attack while Kagawa and Inui should both return to the side.

Predicted line-up (4-3-3):


H. Sakai, Makino, Yoshida, Nagatomo

Yamaguchi, Hasebe, Shibasaki

Kagawa, Osako, Inui

Unavailable: None

Doubtful: Okazaki


Belgium are in relentless form and they will be super confident of progressing here. Japan edged their opening game against Colombia thanks to a penalty and red card in the second minute but they have otherwise struggled, so Belgium should win this one comfortably and kill the game early on.