ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, July 2 (Reuters) - Japan were holding Belgium 0-0 at halftime in their Round of 16 tie on Monday, though barring a couple of half-chances for the Japanese it was the Belgians who had the pressure but failed to turn that into goals.
Having rested most of their best players for the 1-0 win over England in their final group game on Thursday, Belgium’s first-choice team, including Vincent Kompany back from injury in the centre of defence, sent too many passes astray.
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku failed to react in time when Kompany flicked the ball towards him on the half-hour. However, just before the halftime whistle, Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois was nearly embarrassed as the ball squirmed through his hands before he managed to smothere it.
The winners will play Brazil in the quarter-final on Friday. (Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Ken Ferris)