Japan is superior to Iran in aerial duels too. Stats don't lie. Aerial duel success in the group stage. Iran 42% - Morocco 58% https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1249948/MatchReport/International-FIFA-World-Cup-2018-Morocco-Iran Iran 42% - Portugal 58% https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1...ternational-FIFA-World-Cup-2018-Iran-Portugal Iran 43% - Spain 57% https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1249930/MatchReport/International-FIFA-World-Cup-2018-Iran-Spain Average Iran 42.3% - Opponent 57.7% Japan 57% - Colombia 43% https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1...ernational-FIFA-World-Cup-2018-Colombia-Japan Japan 44% - Senegal 56% https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1...ternational-FIFA-World-Cup-2018-Japan-Senegal Japan 55% - Poland 45% https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1249965/MatchReport/International-FIFA-World-Cup-2018-Japan-Poland Average Japan 52% - Opponent 48% It's not that surprising because Japanese defenders are more talented than Iranians. Yoshida - 163 games for Southampton Nagatomo - 210 games for Inter Sakai - 192 games for Hannover/Marseille Iran has no defenders who play or played in the top leagues. Iran was toothless in attack too. Japan scored 6 proper goals. 4 from open play, 1 from a CK, and 1 from a deserved penalty. On the other hand, Iran failed to score a single proper goal. The goal against Morocco was an own goal. The goal against Portugal was from an undeserved penalty (International FA Board (IFAB) said Iran was wrongly awarded a penalty.) Let's stop comparing Iran and Japan. The former has never reached the knockout stage. The latter enjoyed 3 knockout stage appearances. It will take at least 12 years for Iran to equal Japan's knockout stage appearances. Anyways, the key moment in the Japan-Belgium was that fluke header goal by Vertonghen. Belgium looked completely shocked until that goal and it gave them a big belief.