Recap: Belgium vs. Russia
06/22/2014 2:13 PM
06/22/2014 5:30 PM
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Divock Origi came off the bench to rescue three points for Belgium with a goal in the 88th minute, handing his side a 1-0 win over Russia at the Maracana on Sunday that puts Belgium into the knockout round.
The first 80 minutes of the match produced little in the way of offensive output for either side, but Origi gave the match its one moment of quality to hand Belgium its second win in as many games.
Belgium needed a pair of goals in the second half to overcome Algeria, 2-1, in its opening contest, and it took another late show on Sunday with Eden Hazard and Origi combining on the lone goal.
"We didn't play well, apart from the last 10 minutes," Hazard said. "The subs brought a bit of freshness, but perhaps the Russian defense was also pretty tired by then. Personally speaking, I feel good. I've been trying to make a difference, and often I end up doing that at the end of matches - that proves that I feel fresh."
Kevin Mirallas nearly put Belgium ahead in the 84th minute when his free kick struck the post, but Origi saved the day to send his team to the top of Group H with one match to play, which comes on Thursday against South Korea.
Dries Mertens was the most dangerous man for either side in the first half, but he wasn't able to create a goal for Belgium, while Russia went close just before the break when a header from Alexander Kokorin went just wide.
The Russians asked most of the questions after the break, yet they were unable to put a number of headers on target before a first-time shot from Andrey Eshchenko rolled narrowly wide of the far post.
However, Belgium came to life at the end of the game, and after Mirallas struck the post, Hazard popped up to set up the lone goal.
The Chelsea star took possession of the ball on the left wing and dribbled to the end line, where he pulled a pass back to Origi, who struck it first-time into the roof of the net past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Belgium failed to put a shot on goal until the final few minutes, but the 19- year-old Origi now has them in the last 16 for the first time since 2002.
Russia will face Algeria in its final match and will need a win to have any chance of advancing.
"I still believe we have a chance, but we now have no choice but to beat Algeria," said Russia head coach Fabio Capello. "Today we went out to win the match, but we got caught on the counter-attack - it's as simple as that."
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