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.


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