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Jan Vertonghen scores to start Belgium comeback vs. Japan


FIFA via Getty Images

As the World Cup Round of 16 match between Belgium and Japan kicked off, I cheekily tweeted that it’d be nice if Jan Vertonghen, who was one of two Tottenham Hotspur players, along with Toby Alderweireld, to start the match, scored. It’s rare, see, because he’s a central defender.

He obliged. After a scoreless first half, Japan scored two crackers to go up 2-0, forcing Belgium to start pushing men forward and attacking with abandon. After a Belgium corner kick in the 69th minute, the ball pinged around the box and found the head of Vertonghen at the far left edge of Japan’s box.

And then he did this.

Did he mean to do that? Nah. Was it still FREAKIN’ AMAZING? Yep! Credit to him for not celebrating that goal — he was all business as he ran back to his half of the pitch. I don’t think he even smiled.

Jan’s goal was the first of three for Belgium — Marouane Fellaini equalized a few minutes later, and former Tottenham midfielder Nacer Chadli won the match for Belgium with the last kick of the game, rounding out a completely thrilling Round of 16 match, easily the best of the tournament. Belgium moves on to play Brazil in the quarterfinals.