Belgium snatch late victory against Russia

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 Source: goal.com

A late goal from substitute Divock Origi ensured Belgium booked their place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Russia.

Marc Wilmots' side looked set to suffer frustration at the Maracana on Sunday after looking short of ideas against Fabio Capello's well-organised team.

However, teenage striker Origi came off the bench to grab an 88th-minute winner - his first international goal - and secure progression from Group H with a game to spare.

Two substitutes, Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens, had combined to help Belgium come from behind to beat Algeria in their first match, and another change paid dividends for Wilmots on this occasion, leaving Russia stunned.

Prior to Origi's strike, Belgium had hit the post through Kevin Mirallas, while Russia striker Aleksandr Kokorin spurned the best chance of the first half when heading wide from an unmarked position.

Russia, who were held by South Korea in their opening game, will now require assistance from elsewhere if they are to join Belgium in the knockout stages.

Fellaini and Mertens were rewarded for their goalscoring exploits against Algeria with places in the Belgium starting line-up, at the expense of Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele, while skipper Vincent Kompany was passed fit and Thomas Vermaelen came in for Jan Vertonghen.

Alexei Kozlov and Maxim Kanunnikov came into the Russia side, with Andrey Yeshchenko and Yuri Zhirkov dropping to the bench.

Belgium made a positive start, but it was Thibaut Courtois who made the first save of the game when he got down well to keep out Viktor Fayzulin's left-footed strike from just outside the penalty area 11 minutes in.

Mertens was proving to be a real handful for the Russia defence and the Napoli winger fired wide with his right foot after an incisive run.

Russia could have had a penalty when Kanunnikov went down under a challenge from Toby Alderweireld in the penalty area, but referee Felix Brych waved play on.

Vermaelen suffered an injury in the warm-up and was subsequently forced to come off shortly after the half-hour mark, so Vertonghen entered the fray.

Mertens remained Belgium's biggest threat and Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev had to be alert to palm the winger's cross away after he cut in from the right at full tilt.

Source: goal.com

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