Belgium looked to be down and out early in the second half. Japan looked to be heading to the World Cup quarterfinals. And then, everything changed.
Belgium are the first team to have come back from a 2-0 deficit and registered a win in a World Cup knockout game in 48 years, emulating West Germany's quarterfinal win over England in 1970, when they won 3-2 in extra-time after trailing 2-0 at one stage.
Japan have been knocked out in the round of 16 for the third time, after losing to Turkey in 2002 and Paraguay in 2010. Japan also became just the second Asian nation to have scored first in a World Cup knockout match after North Korea, who led Portugal in the 1966 quarters 3-0, before being pegged back to 5-3.
Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli's goals have meant Belgium have now scored 12 goals in this World Cup in just four matches, matching their best ever in one edition of a World Cup. When they last scored 12 goals, they went all the way to the semifinals, their best finish at World Cups. It also took exactly 12 seconds for Thibaut Courtois to release the ball and Chadli to score the winner in the last minute of the game.
Genki Haraguchi scored Japan's first ever goal in a knockout game at the World Cup. Japan had lost 1-0 to Turkey in 2002, and eliminated on penalties by Paraguay after a goalless draw in 2010, both in the round of 16, before.
Belgium have won a seventh successive World Cup game that they were level at half-time in, with their previous defeat having come 16 years ago. Belgium were scoreless and level with Brazil in the second round in 2002, before Rivalo and Ronaldo scored in a 2-0 win for the eventual champions.
Japan now have six goals at this World Cup, the most they have scored in one tournament. It is the second highest scored by an AFC team in one World Cup, after co-hosts South Korea scored eight in the 2002 edition. The 15 goals scored by all AFC nations at this World Cup are also the most goals scored by them in one tournament.