What happened overnight?

Belgium and Japan served up an

, the third-ranked Europeans fighting back from 2-0 down with less than a quarter of the match remaining to win 3-2 with the last kick of the game.

There were no such problems for five-time winners Brazil, who cruised into a seventh straight World Cup quarter-final, beating Mexico 2-0 in stifling mid-thirties heat in Samara.


Japan were the only nation from the original World Cup draw's bottom pot to make the round of 16, they changed their coach two months before the tournament and were heavy underdogs against a star-laden Belgian side who were unbeaten in their last 22 games.

But the Blue Samurai resolutely weathered the first-half storm, before hitting their highly-rated opponents with a superb double-punch just after the break, eye-catching goals from Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui igniting dreams of a first ever World Cup quarter-final.

But you have to hand it to Belgium.

Facing elimination against a side ranked nearly 60 places below them and with question-marks over their unity, they roared back with headed goals from veteran defender Jan Vertonghen and the much maligned Marouane Fellaini.

Then, with the clock ticking towards 94 minutes and limbs aching, they broke downfield one last time, kept their heads and set up substitute Nacer Chadli to guide home the winner.

There simply aren't enough suitable adjectives for this game.


Neymar may have scored one of Brazil's goals and created the other but his shameful, ongoing histrionics overshadowed that.


As he lay prone on the turf for the umpteenth time at this tournament, a Mexican opponent inadvertently trod lightly on his ankle, causing an appalling display of feigned agony and despicable theatrics from the Brazilian star.

Neymar's antics in this tournament have already spawned countless Internet memes and he was again widely (and rightly) derided for his latest display.

Imagine being one of the best players of your generation with skill and pace others could only dream of, but instead being remembered for embarrassing and pathetic play-acting.

Stat chat

The last team to come back from two goals down to win a World Cup knockout game was West Germany against England in the 1970 quarter-final.

Before today, Japan had never scored a goal in a World Cup knock-out match.

Belgium made 10 changes to their starting line-up, the most at a World Cup since Spain made 11 changes for their game against Saudi Arabia in 2006.


At 18.60 metres, Jan Vertonghen's opener for Belgium is the longest range headed goal at the World Cup since stats started being kept in 1966.

Both of today's games were goal-less at half-time, meaning 21 matches at this World Cup have been 0-0 at the break, but just one has finished that way.

Mexico have lost all five of their World Cup games against Brazil, without scoring a single goal.

Brazil's goals were their 227th and 228th in World Cups, taking them past Germany to the top of the all-time World Cup goalscoring list.

At 39 years and 139 days, Mexico's Rafael Marquez became the oldest outfield player to start a World Cup knockout match since Stanley Matthews (39 years 145 days) for England v Uruguay in 1954.

They said what?
Martin O'Neill, Ireland manager and pundit (on Neymar): "His reaction? Oh, it was pathetic. It was absolutely pathetic, honestly... I mean, the pain threshold of Neymar is just incredibly low, I must admit. I wouldn't like to see him coming out of the doctor's surgery after getting a flu injection."


Juan Carlos Osorio, Mexico coach: "I would like to thank our fans and apologise that we didn't accomplish our goal and I'm sorry about that. They are the definitely the best fans in the world."

Did you know?
Mexico have now been eliminated in the round of 16 at every one of the last seven World Cups.

What's next?
The quarter-final line-up will be completed tomorrow with the last two round-of-16 clashes.

At 2am (NZT), Sweden meet Switzerland in St. Petersburg before England take on Colombia in Moscow from 6am.