Belgium leaves it late to secure a place in the last 16 of the World Cup after a 1-0 victory over Russia in what was a hard fought game.
Marc Wilmots’ side saw early pressure from the Eastern European side when Viktor Fayzulin’s strike forced a saved from Thibaut Courtois, but his team slowly found a way back into the match.
Dries Mertens was looking the likely candidate to make something happen for Wilmots with a majority of chances as he skipped pass defenders on more than one occasions. His failure to provide the killer ball or take his many chances resulted in a goalless first half. Aleksandr Kokorin should have given Fabio Capello’s men the lead with an unmarked header, which was probably the best chance of the match so far.
Both sides threw everything they had at each other, but to no avail as they battled for all three points. The breakthrough came in the 88th minute when substitute Divock Origi capitalized on a brilliant Eden Hazard run down the right flank before he received the ball just outside the six yard box and slotted home his nations winning goal.
Algeria and South Korea gave us another amazing encounter in this year’s World Cup. What was expected to be a tight affair turned out to be an all attacking display, resulting in a six-goal game. The African side took the lead in the 26th minute, when Slimani latched onto a long ball and hit a delicate chip over the out-rushing keeper.
Algeria then doubled two minutes later when Halliche towered above the Korean defence to put a thunderous header into the net.
Things got worse for the Asian side as they went 3-0, Djabou putting his side effort shot in the corner of the net.
But as the second half started, Korea got back into the game Heung-Min Son turned his defender and put his left foot shot between the legs of Rais M’Bohli. South Korea piled on the pressure and had an amazing pile-driver by Sunderland’s Sung-Yong Ki saved.
However Algeria grabbed hold of the game with their fourth, Brahimi cutting the defence wide open with a one two and smashing it into the bottom of the net.
Ja-Chael Koo added the game’s sixth in the 72nd minute, but it was only to be a consolation.
In an almost must win game for Portugal, they went into the best of starts when the US defence were unable to clear a rather tame cross into the box, which landed to Nani who smashed the ball into the roof of the net just five minutes into the game.
And it looked like Ronaldo’s side were going to hold onto the points, before the US turned on the style in the 64nd minute when Jermaine Jones curled one from outside the area leaving Bento stuck to his spot.
The US, buoyed by the goal, pressed the Portugal back-line and finally got their reward when captain Clint Dempsey was in the right area to turn a cross over the line with his thigh.
Portugal were however not done yet, and with practically seconds to go in injury time, Cristiano Ronaldo sent a brilliant cross into the area for Silverstre Varela, whose powerful header was just too much for Tim Howard to handle.
The European outfit still have a slim hope of advancing in the next stage of the competition, but must hope that Germany beat the US by a large margin and they do the same with Ghana.