Shinji Kagawa

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Stoppage time winner completes Belgium comeback


Nacer Chadli‘s goal seconds before the final whistle led Belgium to a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Japan on Monday at the World Cup in Rostov-on-Don.

Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini also scored for Belgium, who will meet Brazil in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui helped Japan to a 2-0 lead.

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Romelu Lukaku looked strong out of the gates, creating enough space to earn a pair of corner kicks in the first 20 minutes.

One of the few balls Japan got to the doorstep was bungled between the legs of Thibaut Courtois, but he collected it before any of the Samurai Blue could pounce on it.

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Japan opened the second half with a history-making vigor, scoring twice inside of five minutes.

A misplay from Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen allowed Haraguchi to dribble on goal, and he acted like a cutback to his left foot was coming before pushing a right footed shot beyond the reach of Courtois.

Then it was Inui’s turn, and what he did was nothing short of gorgeous.

Given some room to maneuver, Shinji Kagawa and Inui worked outside the 18 before the latter unleashed an arrow toward goal. Courtois could not reach it.

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Lukaku just missed turning a header inside the far post in the 62nd minute as Belgium tried to get on the board and put pressure on the upstart Samurai Blue.

Vertonghen got a bit of redemption in the 70th minute, when his headed cross back across goal looped over the keeper and into the goal. A pass? Most likely. A goal? Certainly.

Fellaini’s goal, five minutes after entering the game, made it 2-2. It was a trademark powerful header from the Manchester United man.

Eiji Kawashima made a pair of fantastic saves for Japan as the game moved toward the final whistle of regulation, and Courtois answered with a beauty of his own in the 90th.

The Red Devils completed the comeback in the fourth minute of stoppage time, cued up by Kevin De Bruyne. Thomas Meunier cut a square ball through the 18 that Lukaku dummied for Chadli to slide home.

WATCH: On Japan duty, Shinji Kagawa flubs a sitter of the most comfortable variety

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We need a bigger term than sitter for this miss. Sofa? Futon? Beanbag chair?

Japan’s 3-0 win over Cambodia at Saitama Stadium wasn’t exactly the sharpest of displays despite the final score, at least for former Manchester United attacker and current Borussia Dortmund man Shinji Kagawa.

[ EXCLUSIVE: JPW talks Olympic qualifying with U.S. coach ]

The 26-year-old did manage to net a goal in the 61st minute (above), but that was after this horrific, horrific miss.

Yes, two horrifics worth of horror. Trust us, it’s not simply rhetoric.

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Europa League roundup: Southampton crash out in Europe; Dortmund hang 7, advance

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A roundup of all the day’s action from around Europe as the final round of UEFA Europa League qualifying concluded on Thursday:

Midtjylland 1-0 (2-1 agg.) Southampton

The 2014-15 season, it is not, for Southampton Football Club. The saving grace for Saints, who are winless in three to start the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, was the hope of European football at St Mary’s Stadium this season. They put even that in jeopardy last Thursday with a 1-1 first-leg draw at home to Midtjylland, the reigning Danish champions.

Fast forward seven days, and Saints are out of Europe (maybe for another 12 years, who knows) following a 1-0 away defeat in Herning, Denmark. Morten Rasmussen — better known simply as “Duncan” — scored the game’s only goal on a quick turn and strike in the 28th minute. With Southampton and West Ham United each crashing out in the qualifying stages, only Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will represent the Premier League in the Europa League’s group stage. Any number of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal or Manchester United could join them in the knockout rounds should they finish third in their Champions League group.

Borussia Dortmund 7-2 (11-5 agg.) Odds BK

Last week’s 4-3 victory over Odd Ballklubb was thrilling in its own right, if only for Borussia Dortmund’s comeback from 3-0 down after 22 minutes. Thursday’s 7-2 thrashing of the Norwegian side was thrilling as well, if only because it’s not everyday (or week, or month) that we see somebody put a touchdown and an extra point on the board.

Marco Reus bagged a hat trick (27th, 31st and 57th minutes) to go along with Shinji Kagawa’s brace (40th and 90th) and individual tallies scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan. For what it’s worth, Odds were level on aggregate (though behind based on away goals) from the 19th minute to the 25th minute, when Mkhitaryan restored order. It’s those small victories that keep you going.

UEFA will hold the draw for the Europa League group stage in Monaco on Friday (8 am ET).

Elsewhere in Europa League qualifying action (Italicized teams advance)

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 (3-3 – away goals) Zilina
Jablonec 0-1 (0-1) Ajax
Saint-Etienne 1-0 (2-1) Milsami
Kairat 2-1 (2-2 – away goals) Bourdeaux
Fenerbahce 3-0 (4-0) Atromitos
Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 (2-2; 2-3 – PK shootout) Dinamo Minsk
Panathinaikos 2-2 (2-2 – away goals) Gabala FC
AZ Alkmaar 2-0 (4-3) Astra Giurgiu
Legia Warsaw 3-2 (4-2) FC Zorya
Standard Liege 3-1 (3-3 – away goals) Molde
Brondby 1-1 (1-6) PAOK
Hajduk Split 0-1 (0-2) Liberec
HJK 0-0 (1-5) Krasnodar
Thun 3-3 (4-6) Sparta Prague
Rosenborg 0-1 (3-1) Steaua Bucarest
Qarabag 3-0 (4-0) BSC Young Boys
Rubin Kazan 1-0 (2-1) Rabotnicki
Vojvodina 0-2 (0-5) Viktoria Plzen
Videoton 0-1 (0-4) Lech Poznan

Europa League roundup: Dortmund win an absolute thriller, Southampton stumble at home

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A roundup of all the day’s action from around Europe as the final round of UEFA Europa League qualifying kicked off on Thursday:

Odds BK 3-4 Borussia Dortmund

As far as pure entertainment value goes, it’s tough to top what Dortmund provide on a weekly basis — whether they’re unbelievably bad (last season), unstoppably good (from 2010 to 2012), or a whole lot of both on the same day (today).

Down 3-0 to Norwegian side Odd Ballklubb after 22 minutes, it looked like the 2014-15 Bundesliga season all over for brand new Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel. And then, “peak Dortmund” happened. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a pair of goals either side of a tally by Shinji Kagawa, tying the game at 3-3 in the 77th minute.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the late winner for Dortmund in the 85th minute to give BVB not only a victory in their away leg, but four away goals to carry over into the second leg at home next Thursday.

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Southampton 1-1 Midtjylland

Elsewhere on the continent, Premier League side Southampton welcomed reigning Danish champions Midtjylland to St Mary’s Stadium. Unlike what happened with Dortmund, the underdogs were able to hold on for a positive result and give themselves a real chance of going through to the group stage.

Former Southampton academy player Tim Sparv opened the scoring for the visitors in the 45th minute, when the Finnish midfielder struck the ball well and hard from outside the penalty area to beat Saints goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. Jay Rodriguez equalized for Saints in the 56th minute, when he converted from the penalty spot and bagged his first goal since March 2014 (ruptured ACL).

With the second leg to be played in Denmark next Thursday, Ronald Koeman’s side has much work ahead of them to overturn Midtjylland’s valuable away goal.

Elsewhere in Europa League qualifying action

Zilina 3-2 Athletic Bilbao
Ajax 1-0 Jablonec
Milsami 1-1 Saint-Etienne
Bourdeaux 1-0 Kairat
Atromitos 0-1 Fenerbahce
Dinamo Minks 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg
Gabala FC 0-0 Panathinaikos
Astra Giurgiu 3-2 AZ Alkmaar
FC Zorya 0-1 Legia Warsaw
Molde 2-0 Standard Liege
PAOK 5-0 Brondby
Liberec 1-0 Hajduk Split
Krasnodar 5-1 HJK
Sparta Prague 3-1 Thun
Steaua Bucarest 0-3 Rosenborg
BSC Young Boys 0-1 Qarabag
Rabotnicki 1-1 Rubin Kazan
Altach 0-1 Belenenses
Viktoria Plzen 3-0 Vojvodina
Lech Poznan 3-0 Videoton

DFB Pokal final: VfL Wolfsburg ends Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Borussia Dortmund in disappointment

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Dortmund: Aubameyang 5′

Wolfsburg: Gustavo 22′, De Bruyne 33′, Dost 38′

Seven years.

The tenure of soon-to-be-gone Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, and a second DFB-Pokal title marked the perfect way to end his run with the Bundesliga club.

However, the ideal doesn’t always come true.

Facing VfL Wolfsburg earlier today, Klopp witnessed the crown slip away as his opposition fought back to secure a 3-1 victory for themselves in Berlin.

Wolfsburg gained revenge after Dortmund eliminated them in the semi-final a year ago, while a disappointed BVB can still point to success this year with a Europa League qualification.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a magnificent volley to put the Black and Yellows in front at the five-minute mark, but Luiz Gusatavo was alert to convert the equalizer off a rebound from Naldo’s attempt.

[RELATED: CSKA Moscow qualifies for Champions League with dramatic finish]

Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne brandished his exceptional skill with a scoring bullet from 25 yards out in the 33rd minute, and five minutes later, Bas Dost extended the advantage with a textbook header from Ivan Perisic’s cross

Shinji Kagawa’s sliding effort nearly got Dortmund a second goal right after the half.

In the first half, Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak rejected a low shot from De Bruyne early on, and Marco Reus sailed his strike high following a threatening sequence led by Aubameyang on the right side.

23-year-old defender Erik Durm made a mistake that allowed Daniel Caligiuri to continue Wolfsburg’s attacking success, though Langerak was there for the stop. had to be alert to deny

Club legend Sebastian Kehl, at Dortmund since 2001 and making over 300 top-flight appearances, was substituted off in the 68th minute for defender Lukasz Piszczek.

Kehl announced that he will retire at the end of the season and wanted to go off on a high note, just like Klopp.