The Belgians cruised to qualification, dropping just two points, scoring 43 goals and conceding six in ten matches.
"Then the second time it might have been that Japan exhausted everything in the group stage to reach the round of 16".
Nishino also attracted criticism back in Japan for his negative tactics during the defeat to Poland, when he was seen ordering his players to pass the ball around in their own half in the final minutes even though they were losing.
When it comes to big names, however, Belgium can put Japan in the shade.
Japan meanwhile will be aiming to make history by reaching the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time. They finished with the highest number of goals in the group stages. This shock result was followed by a battling 2-2 draw with Senegal. Letting slip a 2-0 lead can never be celebrated, but Japan paid the price for their attacking ambitions and should not be criticised too much for that. That meant South Americans were going top and Japan and Senegal were tied in nearly everything - they both had four points and a goal difference of 4-4. The result saw both sides progress at Algeria's expense.
De Bruyne advanced the ball with a handsome push, making a flawless lead pass to Jan Vertonghen with room to run.
Lukaku scored the victor for Belgium in that friendly meeting last year, and Japan's Southampton centre-back Maya Yoshida knows from his time playing in the Premier League of the difficulties the 25-year-old striker will pose.
Poor Akira Nishino couldn't believe what he had just witnessed.
MF Takashi Inui, 8 - As lively on the left wing as you would expect from Japan's best performer in the group stage, the Spanish-based wide man burst into life early in the second half.
Japan held a 2-0 lead with less than 25 minutes to play, but Belgium scored twice in a six-minute span to tie it.
As his defence started to tire, goalkeeper Kawashima kept Japan in the game his side with two saves in quick succession to deny Chadli and Lukaku. However, it would be far from a surprise if Belgium get their attacking play together against a well-organized but slower side and score several goals.