Belgians leave it late but make last 16

June 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, Belgium, Belguim News, News, Russia, Russia News
The group H clash between Belgium and Russia was staged at the historic Maracana in Rio de Jeniro. The Belgians grafted a 1-0 victory to book their place in the second round.

Divock Origi of Belgium celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Eden Hazard during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana,Getty Images
Divock Origi of Belgium celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Eden Hazard during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana,Getty Images

The game was billed to be an exciting encounter with Belgium boasting some of the world’s best players and Russia who have a young squad coached by the astute Fabio Cappello. It did deliver on exciting football in the early stages of the game but both teams gradually lost momentum as the half progressed.

Most of the Belgian attack came from a weaken left-hand side of the Russian defence although forward Eden Hazard was nowhere to be seen in the game.

The Russians didn’t put much pressure on their opponents with only their best chance coming through midfielder Victor Faizulin‘s shot from a few yards outside the box.

Although the Belgians saw a lot of the ball in the half, it didn’t count as striker Romelu Lukaku didn’t have any chances at goal. The crowd tried to maintain excitement on the stands through the famous Mexican wave and singing as the action on the pitch was uninteresting.

Young striker Aleksandr Kokorin missed a clear chance in the 43rd minute to give Russian the lead going into half-time when he misdirected his header in the penalty area without pressure from the two Belgian central defenders beside him. The half was dull and boring, failing to deliver the kind on an action-packed game.

The second half didn’t provide anything different with both teams still not troubling either side’s goalie. As the match dragged on it seemed both teams would be content with a draw. A frustrated-looking Lukaku came off in the 57th minute after being substituted with forward Divock Origi.

The Belgians played with more vigour with less than ten minutes in the game and it paid-off as substitute 19 year-old Origi found the opener and winner in the 88th minute to send the Belgians in the last 16.

Bonginkosi Tiwane

 

 


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