Changing coach breathed life into Japan's World Cup campaign

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had been on a quarter-final collision course but the closest they will now come to each other in Russia is the airport departure lounge

Changing coach breathed life into Japan's World Cup campaign

Sanchez, who joined United from Arsenal last January, also revealed he is rooting for Lukaku to fire Belgium to World Cup glory. "We have top players and we play as a group, especially after the win over England", said Chelsea star Hazard. We play for Belgium, we have a lot of good players, but of course I want to go to the final.

Despite advancing out of the group stage in the previous six World Cups, Mexico has failed to reach the quarterfinal in any of those tournaments. "It's in our hands, we need to give everything and see what happens".

But Japan can take vast pride from its performance both in the Belgium match and in the tournament as a whole.

That's just so pathetic, and given that the World Cup is an advert of sorts for the attractive game, it should be called out.

Nishino, who was the JFA's technical director, was given the task of rebuilding trust in the Japan camp, and the team's performances in Russian Federation show that the players responded positively.

"They have incredible energy, get up the pitch fast and are organised", said Martinez.

Tweets left, right and center including Liverpool posting about Simon Mignolet, who's back-up to Thibaut Courtois and hasn't played a single minute of the World Cup. "We will have to pay attention because they are used to causing teams problems in both boxes".

"We know what to do and not what to do".

It was a gamble in itself to install Nishino as coach two months out from the tournament, and since taking over the 63-year-old has shown a daring not associated with his predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic, nor indeed Japanese football in general.

"We were thinking it was going to be like two years ago against Wales [at UEFA EURO 2016], but we were also thinking if we can score goals the game is on".

The best he could hope for, he said Sunday, was for his players to play "Japan-like" - contest every ball, control the ball, play dogged defense and stage lightening counterattacks.

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