Underdogs go into last 16 as favourites

June 27, 2014 at 12:22 am
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, Belgium, Belguim News, News, South Korea, South Korea News

an Vertonghen of Belgium celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between South Korea and Belgium at Arena de Sao Paulo,Getty Images
an Vertonghen of Belgium celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between South Korea and Belgium at Arena de Sao Paulo,Getty Images

A nonchalant Belgium faced a desperate Korea Republic side at Sao Paulo’s Arena de Sao Paulo as both teams were playing the last of their group stages game. The Belgians topped their group wining all their matches, after beating Korea Republic 1-0.

Belgian coach Marc Wilmots used the game to experiment and give fringe players a run while his first choice players got a rest. The team was captained by Jan Vertonghen in the absence of Vincent Kompany with the likes of Adnan Januzaj getting their first run at the World Cup.

The Koreans needed to win their game and hope Russia also beat Algeria for them to have a chance of making the Round of 16. The Asians did’t show urgency in their play, not threatening the Belgian back four.

Belgian forward Dries Mertens should have opened the scoring in the 25th minute after Moussa Dembele fed him a beautiful pass in the Korean box, only for Mertens to shoot the ball over the goalposts.

Vertonghen shot a free-kick from 45 yards, only for his attempt to fly-off wide to the left. The closest the Koreans came to scoring was in the 30th minute when defender Hong Jeongho headed a corner which was cleared off the line by Belgian midfielder Steven Defour to head for another corner.

Derfour went from hero to zero moments before half-time when he committed a clumsy foul on lanky Korean forward Kim Shinwook. He was shown a straight red card by the referee to send his team into the break with ten men.

Early moments in the second half were a bit dull with Belgium not attacking as they did in the first. The Koreans sat back and never improved on their previous half’s performance. The Belgian coach made a few substitutions midway through the second half bringing on forwards Divock Origi and Nacer Chadli and like previous games, the substitutes made a the difference.

The Belgians began attacking with ferocity. Origi hit a powerful shot just outside the Korean box only for the goalkeeper to palm it off;Vertonghen was the quickest to react to the loose ball  and the Korean keeper didn’t have a chance as the defender opened the scoring in the 78th minute.

The remaining minutes of the game saw the Koreans absorb a barrage of Belgian attack, with Eden Hazard coming on to further stretch the Asian team’s defence.

The European underdogs finished top of their group, winning all three of their group games. They now look forward to a challenge from the United States of America.

Bonginkosi Tiwane


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