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    “By no means underestimate Japan,” warned Dries Mertens

    © Belga
    © Belga

    “We know through experience that this match against Japan can be our last in the tournament. We are certainly not going to underestimate this team, said Dries Mertens at a press conference Saturday in Dedovsk, Belgium’s base camp during the Russian World Cup, two days before the World Cup’s round of sixteen game between the two teams.

    Starter in the first two matches, and scorer in the game against Panama, Dries Mertens observed the game against England Thursday from on the bench. The Belgian aged 31, with 72 appearances on the national team, said he is very “proud of his co-team members’ performance’’ against the Three Lions.

    In Rostov-on-Don on Monday (8 pm), the Diables will face Japan in the Russian World Cup’s round of sixteen. “I hope that this will be a great game and that we’ll win. They beat Colombia and kicked Poland out of the World Cup; we have a lot of respect for this beautiful Japanese team,’’ said the Neapolitan player. “We work a lot, and our confidence will not let us down,’’ insisted Dries Mertens, taking on Roberto Martinez’s Diables Rouges’ favorite’s status.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times