Japan take their first point from Belgium
Japan have secured their first ever World Cup point against Belgium in a thrilling encounter. After a tough first period, they came within touching distance of victory.
Marc Wilmots, Belgium captain, gave the Europeans the lead, before goals from Takayuki Suzuki and Junichi Inamoto turned the game on its head. It took a late strike from Peter van der Heyden to deny the co-hosts the three points.
Japan played some neat football in the first half, although often lacked a cutting edge. Belgium had the better chances, and used their physical advantage to carve out openings for Wilmots, Goor and Verheyen.
However, in the second half when Wilmots scored with a superb overhead kick, Japan came out of their shells and were in front soon after the hour.
After the Belgium equaliser, Japan had a goal disallowed for a foul, which seemed to be a very harsh decision.
Seigo Narazaki, Naoki Matsuda, Ryuzo Morioka (capt, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto 72), Koji Nakata, Junichi Inamoto, Hidetoshi Nakata, Shinji Ono (Alex 64), Kazuyuki Toda, Daisuke Ichikawa, Takayuki Suzuki (Hiroaki Morishima 70), Atsushi Yanagisawa
Geert de Vlieger, Eric van Meir, Timmy Simons, Jacky Peeters, Peter van der Heyden, Daniel van Buyten, Johan Walem (Wesley Sonck 70), Gert Verheyen (Branko Strupar 83), Yves Vanderhaeghe, Bart Goor, Marc Wilmots
4th June 2002