10420239_478606602284083_3425293046339877218_nBelgium reached the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup through a late winner by Divock Origi against Russia in the Group H match played at Rio de Janeiro.

Starting Line-Ups:
Belgium: Courtois(GK), Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Kompany(C), Witsel, De Bruyne, Fellaini, Lukaku, E. Hazard, Mertens, Van Buyten

Russia: Akinfeev(GK), Kozlov, Ignashevich, Kannunikov, Glushakov, Kokorin, V. Berezutskiy(C), Shatov, Samedov, Fayzulin, D. Kombarov

After a delightful win against Algeria, Belgium faced Russia in the second match of their World Cup campaign. The Red Devils kicked off the match in their traditional red kit and dominated play for the first 10 minutes of the match by having 75% possession. The first chance of the game comes for Russia though, as Faizulin’s shot is blocked by Courtois in the 12th minute of the match.

De Bruyne and Mertens continue making good chances for the Belgian side but are not able to convert them into goals. Belgium are forced to make a change in the 31st minute as Vermaelen is injured and Vertonghen is brought on for him. The best chance of the first half comes in the 44th minute for Russia when Glushakov swung a superb ball into the box but Kokorin nods the ball wide and misses the chance to open the scoring.

The first half ended with both the teams standing on equal footing as no goals were scored by either of the teams. A lively first half but no goals. At half time; Belgium 0 Russia 0.

The second half is kicked off by Russia with both the teams making no changes to their line-ups. The pace of the game slowed down for the first few minutes of the second half which encouraged Wilmots to bring on Origi in place of Lukaku in the 57th minute. Eden Hazard’s shot was blocked by Berezutskiy in the 62nd minute which meant the score line was still 0-0.

Wilmots made his last change of the match in the 75th minute when Mirallas was brought on for Mertens who had a great match but unfortunately could not convert any of the chances. Mirallas makes an inspiring start to the game as his free kick hits the woodwork and the Red Devils are still unable to score in the 84th minute. The post again comes into action when Eden Hazard’s shot is denied by it.

The only goal of the match came in the 88th minute when Hazard slid in the ball for Origi who kept his cool and slotted the ball into the roof of the net making the score 1-0. Eden Hazard’s excellent work finally paid off and Belgium again scored through a substitute which is their third of the tournament. Origi became the youngest Belgian World Cup scorer at the age of 19.

Eden Hazard was adjudged the Man of the Match. The Red Devils are now the first team to qualify for the next round in Group H and will play their last match in the group stage against Korea Republic.

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