Belgium player ratings as Eden Hazard gets an 8 with Nacer Chadli completing 3-2 comeback win

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Belgium broke Japanese hearts with a winner in the dying moments of the World Cup quarter-final at Rostov Arena on Monday night.

Goals from Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini cancelled out efforts from Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui as the game looked to be heading for extra-time at 2-2.

However, from a corner kick for Japan, Belgium broke forward at pace and Nacer Chadli grabbed a dramatic winner.

Here, we rate the Belgium players.

STARTING XI

Thibaut Courtois – Nervy moments from the Chelsea keeper among a few decent saves. Set off the counter-attack for the winner. 6

Toby Alderweireld – Good on the ball but rather quiet from a defensive aspect. 5

Vincent Kompany – Made a superb block to deny Keisuke Honda late in the second half. Made the most clearances and passes. 6

Jan Vertonghen – Dominant in the air but otherwise suspect defensively. Shoulders a large portion of the blame for the opener. A freak header to spark the comeback though. 5

Thomas Meunier – Couple of shaky moments in defence but looked good going forward with a few dangerous crosses, one of which Lukaku really should’ve scored from. 6

Yannick Carrasco – Another poor display. A few good moments in attack but suspect at the back. 4

Kevin De Bruyne – A strangely subdued performance from the midfield maestro. Went missing for long periods but always produced good delivery and orchestrated the counter-attack for the winner expertly. 6

Axel Witsel – A couple of interceptions aside, he was largely ineffectual with both of his shots blocked. 5

Dries Mertens – Whipped in some good crosses, one of which found Lukaku for Belgium’s first clear-cut chance. Created a few other chances of note as well. 7

Eden Hazard – Had defenders back-tracking all the time with his dribbling and changes of direction. Got a few venomous shots away as well and created plenty of chances. Was unfortunate to strike the upright in the second half. Wriggled free a delivered a superb cross for Fellaini to head home the equaliser. 8

Romelu Lukaku – Ran the channels really well but his finishing let him down on a couple of occasions. Was a real handful though and his clever dummy allowed Chadli to tap-in the winner. 6

SUBS

Marouane Fellaini – Replaced Carrasco in the second half and did his job, heading in for the equaliser. 7

Nacer Chadli –  Was a live wire when he came on for Mertens. Beat defenders for fun, had a chance with a header and scored the all-important winner. 7

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Watch: Edinson Cavani progressing to be fit for Uruguay's meeting with France, says Rodrigo Bentancur

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Edinson Cavani is dealing with a calf injury.

Uruguay could be without without Edinson Cavani in the quarter-finals meeting with France, but Rodrigo Bentancur believes the striker is progressing with his calf injury.

The teams will clash on Friday with a spot in the semi-finals up for grabs, which means Uruguay will need all hands on deck.

Cavani limped off in the 2-1 win over Portugal in the last 16 tie, but appears to be on his way to being fit.

“He has to do some rehabilitation exercises and is in a really good mood. This is obviously something that needs to be on a daily basis, but he’s been fine so far,” Bentancur said.

See Bentancur’s full comments and more from Nahitan Nandez in the video below.

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Neymar believes critics claiming he's a diva are trying to 'undermine' him after Brazil's win over Mexico

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Neymar's theatrics were in the spotlight again.

Neymar claimed his critics are trying to “undermine” him after he sizzled in the baking Samara heat to send Brazil into the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Brazil’s 2-0 victory over Mexico was the Neymar show as the 26-year-old scored the first – his 57th international goal in 89 appearances – before setting up the second for substitute Roberto Firmino late in the match.

But Neymar’s behaviour came under scrutiny again after he was previously accused of play-acting in Russia.

Mexico substitute Miguel Layun trod on Neymar’s ankle in the 73rd minute, escaping a possible red card, but Neymar’s reaction was exaggerated in the extreme as he writhed around on the floor.

But when asked in his post-match press conference if claims that he is a diva were unfair, Neymar said: “Look, I think it’s more of an attempt to undermine me than anything else.

“I don’t care much for criticism, not even from the press because in a way this can influence athletes.

“The last two matches I didn’t talk to the press because there’s so many people talking.

“I just want to play and I help my team-mates, I have to help my team and that’s what I am here for, nothing else.

“I am here to win and I hope I can improve.”

Although Brazil were unbeaten in the group stage and topped their section, Neymar looked short of his best as he worked his way back to full fitness.

Neymar sprained his ankle and fractured his fifth metatarsal playing for Paris Saint-Germain in February and only returned to action just ahead of the World Cup.

But he was back to his best despite 35 degrees Celsius temperatures at the Samara Arena, as Brazil overtook Germany as the World Cup’s highest scorers.

“I knew that I was going to need some time to get back to my normal pace, but today I feel much better,” Neymar said after scoring his second goal of the 2018 World Cup.

“I am really happy for the match, not only individually but also for the whole team.

“I congratulate them on their efforts and we are improving all the time.”

Although he refused to criticise Neymar directly, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio was unimpressed with the behaviour of the Brazil players and blamed their theatrics for halting his side’s rhythm.

“I think we played quite well but unfortunately – and it’s a shame for football – that we wasted a lot of time because of one single player,” Osorio said.

“I think we lost our style in the second half due to the refereeing, every time he stopped the game.

“There was too much stoppage and my players got more and more tired.”

On the Layun incident, Osorio said: “There was very little contact.

“But there was a four-minute stoppage and this is a very negative example for the world of football and for all the children who are following the game.

“This should be a strong sport, it’s a men’s sport. There shouldn’t be so much acting.

Neymar was asked about Osorio’s comments but the Brazil manager Tite, who was sitting beside him, interrupted to say he would answer the question.

“Is that a loser whining?” Tite said.

“The hierarchy stands, the coach talks to the coach, the athlete talks to the athlete.”

On the Layun incident, he added: “I saw what happened and you can look at the video and say nothing. Just analyse the image (of foul play).”

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