Belgium 1 Japan 0
Belgium and Japan had previously played against each other four times. The Samurai Blue had won two of those encounters, while the other two had resulted in a draw. The Belgians had reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship in 2016, while Japan had made the quarter finals of the AFC Asian Cup in 2015. In their last five fixtures, The Red Devils had defeated Gibraltar, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Cyprus, and drawn against Mexico. The Japanese, meanwhile, had overcome Australia and New Zealand, drawn against Haiti, and suffered defeats against Saudi Arabia and Brazil. Belgium dominated possession against Japan from the very beginning and the hosts enjoyed a number of decent scoring opportunities as the first half of the friendly match progressed, but they failed to find the back of the net before the intermission. The Japanese side also had their chances to find the target during the opening forty-five minutes as Yuya Osako of FC Cologne and Southampton´s Maya Yoshida both headed a few inches over the crossbar. The Belgians continued to launch attacks following the resumption of play and the aggressive and committed home team were finally rewarded when Manchester United´s Romelu Lukaku converted a brilliant cross ball from West Bromwich Albion winger Nacer Chadli with eighteen minutes remaining of normal time. Vahid Halilhodzic´s Japan came close to scoring just a mere five minutes later as attacking midfielder Takashi Inui fired a dangerous low shot from the edge of the eighteen-yard area, but the Sociedad Deportiva Eibar favourite could only watch his effort being superbly saved by Liverpool and Belgium shot stopper Simon Mignolet, and Lukaku´s 31st goal for his country proved to be enough to settle the contest at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges.
Born in Antwerp, Romelu Lukaku had started out his professional football career at Brussels club RSC Anderlecht where the youngster notched up an impressive 33 hits during Belgian Pro League 73 appearances for Les Mauves et Blancs before he joined forces with Chelsea in the summer of 2011, but after loan spells with West Bromwich Albion and Everton, the goal poacher signed a permanent deal with The Toffees at the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign. Following 53 Premier League goals during 110 matches for The Evertonians, he was transferred to Manchester United at the start of the 2017-18 season, and found the net on his first team debut in a narrow 2-1 Super Cup Final defeat against Real Madrid at the Philip the Second Arena in the Macedonian capital of Skopje on the 8th of August 2017. On the international scene, Lukaku was given his senior debut for Belgium by Dutch head coach Dick Advocaat in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Croatia at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on the 3rd of March 2010, and scored his first two goals for his homeland in a 2-0 friendly win against Russia at the Trade Unions Central Stadium in Voronezh on the 17th of November the same year. Belgium Team: Simon Mignolet, Christian Kabasele, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Nacer Chadli, Thorgan Hazard, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens. Substitutes: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Laurent Ciman, Jordan Lukaku, Steven Defour, Leander Dendoncker, Moussa Dembele, Adnan Januzaj, Youri Tielemans, Kevin Mirallas, Laurent Depoitre, Divock Origi. Japan Team: Eiji Kawashima, Tomoaki Makino, Yuto Nagatomo, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Genki Haraguchi, Kazuki Nagasawa, Yosuke Ideguchi, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Takuma Asano, Yuya Osako. Substitutes: Masaaki Higashiguchi, Shusaku Nishikawa, Wataru Endo, Shintaro Kurumaya, Genta Miura, Gen Shoji, Gotoku Sakai, Shu Kurata, Hasebe, Takashi Inui, Ryota Morioka, Shinzo Koroki, Yuya Kubo, Kenyu Sugimoto.