Japan face an uphill task in their bid to win their first World Cup knockout match as they face high-flying Belgium in a Round of 16 match in Rostov-on-Don on Monday, July 2.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The Round of 16 match will start at 9 pm local time, 11:30 pm IST and 7 pm BST.
Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 and Sony ESPN will provide live television coverage of the match in India. The live stream will be available on Sony Liv.
Belgium vs Japan preview
Belgium, who are being touted as one of the tournament favourites, have lived up to their billing so far in Fifa World Cup 2018.
Roberto Martinez's men began their campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of Panama before winning beating Tunisia 5-2. The Europeans then went on to top Group G after edging past England 1-0 even after making eight changes to their line-up.
Belgium will be hoping to continue their winning momentum in the knockout stages as they are favourites to go the distance, considering the early exits of heavyweights Germany, Spain, Argentina, and Portugal.
Romelu Lukaku set the stage on fire with four goals from just two matches in the round-robin stage before sitting out for the England game with an injury. The Manchester United striker is set to return to the Belgium line-up in Rostov-on-Don along with fit-again Manchester City centre-back Vincent Kompany, who is expected to start for the first time in the ongoing tournament.
Despite the odds heavily favouring them, Martinez is not willing to take the Asian side lightly.
We expect a competitive game: Martinez
"I think it [Japan] is a really dynamic team, very well organised and technically structured. Japanese football is really strong and we expect a really competitive game. I don't think there will be big surprises when we face each other," Martinez had said on the eve of the match.
Japan had made the knockout stages despite being tied on points with third-placed Senegal in Group G as they had better Fair Play points than the African side.
They were beaten by Poland in their final round-robin stage matchday but managed to finish second after employing questionable negative tactics.
Nonetheless, Akira Nishino and his men will be hoping to start afresh and pull off yet another upset in Russia. Japan have impressed with their organised defence so far but against Lukaku, who will be supported by the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Dries Mertens, the Blue Samurai are facing an uphill task.
World Cup 2018: Global TV guide and live stream
- US: Fox Sports, fubo TV; Live stream: Fox Sports GO
- UK: ITV, Live stream: The ITV Hub
- UAE: beIN MAX 3; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect
- Argentina: Canal 7, TyC Sports, DIRECTV Sports; Live stream: DIRECTV Play
- Australia: Optus Sport, SBS
- Bangladesh: PTV Sports, Sony ESPN
- Brazil: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports 1 Brasil
- France: TF1, beIN Sports 1; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect