With a stunning stoppage-time goal, Belgium beat Japan 3-2 on Monday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup. The Red Devils had been down 2-0 to underdog Japan before scoring three consecutive goals, beginning in the 69th minute.
"That Belgium counter was amazing. That game was amazing. Wow," tweeted The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov. "Japan deserves better but Belgium, man, so much firepower."
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 2, 2018
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 2, 2018
Belgium and Brazil will face each other in the quarterfinals on Friday at 2 p.m. ET. Jeva Lange
With Argentina just barely hanging onto its World Cup hopes in its must-win game against Nigeria on Tuesday, the team has seen a few changes — dropping goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who was most infamously responsible for the team's 3-0 defeat to Croatia, and replacing him with Franco Armani, for one.
Another change: Lionel Messi scoring. Just 14 minutes into the match, Messi stepped up to help his fans breathe a little easier with his first goal of the tournament. "Oh come on, did you really think he wouldn't step up in a do-or-die moment?" quipped SB Nation on its live blog of the match. "Éver Banega set up the goal with a wonderful pass, but Messi's first and second touches, then finish were even better." The goal also made Messi the first World Cup player to score in his teens, 20s, and 30s.
If the goal alone isn't poetic enough for you, consider that it is the 100th of this World Cup. Watch below. Jeva Lange
LIONEL MESSI GETS THE OPENER!
What a ball by Banega, what a touch and finish by Messi. Argentina lead Nigeria 1-0. pic.twitter.com/ONbGOjKVkg
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 26, 2018
Japan stunned Colombia on Tuesday in the World Cup, with the heavy underdogs winning the match 2-1. The victory made Japan the first Asian country to beat a South American nation in World Cup history, CBC reports.
The upset began within the first 10 minutes of the game, when Carlos Sanchez used his hand to block midfielder Shinji Kagawa's shot. Sanchez received a red card and Kagawa scored on the penalty. Playing with just 10 men, Colombia's Juan Quintero managed to score the equalizer on a free kick in the 39th minute, but Japan pulled ahead again in the 73rd minute thanks to striker Yuya Osako.
Colombia, which lost 2-1 to Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals in 2014, is stuck at 0 points in the group stage due to their loss Tuesday. In a preview of the match, The Washington Post had observed that Japan "looked inconsistent and confused in the qualifications, partly a result of shifting managers. We'll know if this team is for real after this tough early test." Certainly they've proven themselves — FiveThirtyEight now gives Japan a 76 percent chance of advancing to the Round of 16.
Watch Japan's game-opening goal below. Jeva Lange
What a start!
Carlos Sanchez is sent off for a goal-saving handball after only 3 minutes, but Kagawa scores from the spot anyway and it's 1-0 Japan. pic.twitter.com/vjmddm5ijD
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 19, 2018
England was looking to settle for a 1-1 draw with Tunisia, the top-ranked African team, on Monday in the World Cup group stage. But instead, Tottenham striker Harry Kane headed Harry Maguire's corner kick past Tunisia's Farouk Ben Mustapha in the first minute of stoppage time, ending the match 2-1.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 18, 2018
Kane was also responsible for England's first goal in the 11th minute, and Tunisia's Ferjani Sassi scored the equalizing goal on a penalty in the 33rd minute. With his stoppage-time goal, Kane became the first English player since Gary Lineker in 1990 to score multiple goals in a World Cup game, ESPN reports.
The win gives England an important 3 points, with the Three Lions next facing Group G rival Panama on June 24. Jeva Lange
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018
Portugal tied Spain 3-3 on Friday in the group stage of the World Cup, thanks to a hat trick from star forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Spain's Nacho put his team up 3-2 in the 58th minute by scoring just moments after his teammate, Diego Costa, initially tied the game at two goals each. But a foul from Spain's Gerard Piqué set up a second free kick for Ronaldo, who scored his third goal in the 88th minute.
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) June 15, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo Hattrick Goal vs Spain. Surreal.pic.twitter.com/lv8Zzn0X2g
— Hamza (@Ronaldoverses) June 15, 2018
Spain and Portugal earn one point each due to the draw. Earlier Friday, in the other Group B match, Iran beat Morocco, earning three points. Portugal will face Morocco at 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday and Spain will face Iran the same day at 2 p.m. ET. The two teams with the most points at the end of the group stage advance to the Round of 16. Jeva Lange