Belgium-Japan Analysis

Japan is the team that proved to be a big surprise on this World Cup, especially if we take sudden change of coach just before the competition. Akira Nishino completely transformed the team in short time interval, and made them tough to play against.


JJapan applies possession based style of play, with very dynamic movement in midfield and overloads created in central areas of the field. They are vulnerable in transition due to lack of pace from full-backs who fail to track back and provide defensive support.

  1. Due to physical attributes of their players, they could have problems to deal with set-piece situations. They have had problems to control wide areas against Senegal, especially when opponents switch sides with long diagonal balls when they fail to retain horizontal compactness and deal with opponent’s pace in 2v2 situations.

  • Belgium on the other hand, is one of favourites to get into the semi-finals. They apply very aggressive attacking style of play, with wide centre-backs moving forwad to provide additional support in central midfield. That makes them vulnerable in transition, but their attacking structure allows them to quickly regain possession through counter-pressing and launch quick counter-attacks.

  • Defensive structure might on the left flank. Left wing-back role is occupied by Carrasco or Chadli, who are naturally wingers. They can push high up the field to apply pressure, leaving Vertonghen in bad situation to defend agains opponents. Hazard also defends in that part of the field, and his lack of defensive awareness should be taken into consideration too.

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