Group H, Match 3
A late goal from substitute Divock Origi ensured Belgium booked their place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Russia, reports Goal.com.
Marc Wilmots' side looked set to suffer frustration at the Maracana on Sunday after looking short of ideas against Fabio Capello's well-organised team.
However, teenage striker Origi came off the bench to grab an 88th-minute winner - his first international goal - and secure progression from Group H with a game to spare.
Two substitutes, Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens, had combined to help Belgium come from behind to beat Algeria in their first match, and another change paid dividends for Wilmots on this occasion, leaving Russia stunned.
Prior to Origi's strike, Belgium had hit the post through Kevin Mirallas, while Russia striker Aleksandr Kokorin spurned the best chance of the first half when heading wide from an unmarked position.
Russia, who were held by South Korea in their opening game, will now require assistance from elsewhere if they are to join Belgium in the knockout stages.
Fellaini and Mertens were rewarded for their goalscoring exploits against Algeria with places in the Belgium starting line-up, at the expense of Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele, while skipper Vincent Kompany was passed fit and Thomas Vermaelen came in for Jan Vertonghen.
Alexei Kozlov and Maxim Kanunnikov came into the Russia side, with Andrey Yeshchenko and Yuri Zhirkov dropping to the bench.
Belgium made a positive start, but it was Thibaut Courtois who made the first save of the game when he got down well to keep out Viktor Fayzulin's left-footed strike from just outside the penalty area 11 minutes in.
Mertens was proving to be a real handful for the Russia defence and the Napoli winger fired wide with his right foot after an incisive run.
Russia could have had a penalty when Kanunnikov went down under a challenge from Toby Alderweireld in the penalty area, but referee Felix Brych waved play on.
Vermaelen suffered an injury in the warm-up and was subsequently forced to come off shortly after the half-hour mark, so Vertonghen entered the fray.
Mertens remained Belgium's biggest threat and Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev had to be alert to palm the winger's cross away after he cut in from the right at full tilt.
Yet Russia should have been in front two minutes before the break, when an unmarked Kokorin could only head Denis Glushakov's inviting cross wide of the target.
Wilmots replaced the ineffective Romelu Lukaku with Origi 10 minutes into the second half in an attempt to gain some impetus.
Both sides still looked devoid of ideas, though, with Belgium sitting deep and inviting Russia to break them down but Capello's side lacking quality in the final third.
Russia sensed the opportunity to snatch all three points, but they failed to create clear-cut opportunities in the second half and Glushakov was off target when he tried his luck from outside the penalty area.
Substitute Yeshchenko came close 10 minutes from time when he shot wide of the far post, while Mirallas then rattled the post with a free-kick.
Russia were then stunned two minutes from time as Eden Hazard embarked on a fine run to the byline and cut the ball back for Origi, who was on hand to fire home and see Belgium through.
Man of the Match: E Hazard (BEL)
Match Commentary - as it happened
90` + 2` Great chance for a second! Hazard does well again as he cuts across the edge of the area and then slips Mirallas into the right side of the box, but his finish is tame and Akinfeev saves.
90` Substitution: Alexander Samedov out, Aleksandr Kerzhakov in.
90` There will be three minutes of stoppage time played.
88` Assist Eden Hazard
88` Goal Divock Origi
88` GOAL!!! BELGIUM TAKE THE LEAD! Hazard does so well down the left as he skips past Eschenko and then cuts a good pass back from the goalline and Origi smashes home from close range for his first international goal.
86` Hazard goes close this time as he receives a pass in the area, swivels and then shoots, but his effort is deflected past the far post. Belgium have finally come to life, but will it be too late?
84` MIRALLAS HITS THE POST! The Everton man disguised his free-kick and instead of trying go over the wall, he fired past it, aiming for the bottom-left corner. Akinfeev was slow to react and the ball crashes against the post.
83` Substitution: Oleg Shatov out, Alan Dzagoev in.
83` Belgium win a free-kick in a great position as Alderweireld flicks the ball up and on to the hand of Ignashevich. Numerous Belgians stand over this, about 25 yards from goal.
81` ESCHENKO THREATENS FOR RUSSIA! Capello's men work the ball out to the right well, with Kokorin holding the play up admirably. Eschenko arrives late and hits a first-time effort towards goal, but he narrowly misses the bottom-left corner.
79` Belgium's game plan for the final stages is starting to become noticeable. They smash the ball forward from the back, aiming for Fellaini and the Manchester United man flicks it on to Origi, who is flagged offside.
77` We are running out of time, with about 13 minutes left plus stoppage time. However, neither side looks likely to break the deadlock. There has been a significant lack of creative spark and invention from both sides.
75` Substitution: Dries Mertens out, Kevin Mirallas in.
75` Belgium make another change and Mertens, who was excellent in the first half, is replaced by Mirallas after a quiet show since the break.
74` Faizulin hooks the ball into the area from the free-kick and Ignashevich meets it with a good header, but his effort comfortably clears the crossbar.
73` Yellow Card Toby Alderweireld
73` An aerial clash between Hazard and Samedov sees Russia win a free-kick in a good position now, about 30 yards from goal. They haven't troubled often, but this is an opportunity.
71` Russia get another corner as Van Buten heads the initial one back out behind the goal. However, once again Belgium deal with the delivery, which wasn't great.
70` Russia almost create a dangerous counterattack as Samedov roams through the middle and with the Belgian defence tracking back, he tries to slip Kokorin in. Van Buyten covers well, though, conceding a corner.
68` Hazard makes a rare appearance, this time getting involved on the right, but he soon offloads the ball again without doing anything. This performance certainly won't be helping his chances of silencing his critics. Another unconvincing show in a Belgium shirt.
67` Russia must be fancying their chances here. Belgium have been so quiet going forward in the second half and although they do generally look solid at the back, Russia have agile, dynamic players capable of causing a problem or two.
65` Samedov fires the corner into the danger area, but Belgium deal with it easily. Nevertheless, Russia remain on the offensive.
64` Russia, though, do look a bit better since the break. Faizulin and Kokorin link up well down the right, with both showing quick feet and they win a corner.
62` Substitution: Aleksey Kozlov out, Andrey Eschenko in.
62` Belgium really haven't been inspiring today. They came into the tournament labelled by many as 'dark horses', but that tag is quickly vanishing. Very unimpressive.
60` NO PENALTY FOR ORIGI! De Bruyne races forward on the break and charges away from his marker before finding Hazard to the left. The Chelsea attacker comes inside and then attacks the area again, looking for the one-two with Origi. The forward manages to poke the ball back towards Hazard, but he is hauled down by Ignashevich. No penalty given, though.
59` Good move by Russia as Kokorin evades Kompany and lays the ball off to the right. Samedov hooks a cross into the area and Kokorin tries to produce an overhead-kick, but he misses the ball. Belgium subsequently launch a counterattack.
58` Lukaku has run out of time again and after another very poor performance he is replaced by youngster Divock Origi, who offered much more than the Chelsea man against Algeria.
57` Substitution: Romelu Lukaku out, Divock Origi in.
57` There is a rare moment on the ball for Hazard as he glides past Shatov and then tries to slide a pass into the area for De Bruyne, but it is overhit and Akinfeev collects.
55` That was a little ambitious from Berezutskiy as he blasts the ball up from the back and it goes straight out for a goal kick. I can't be certain whether that was a pass or shot, because it was well away from goal and near no team-mates.
54` Yellow Card Axel Witsel
53` Russia don't make much of the corner itself, but they manage to keep their attack alive, with Belgium inside their own area. The offensive ends, however, with Kanunnikov trying to play a half-volley into the danger area, but he slices wide.
52` Clever play by Kokorin as he takes a pass into his chest and then flicks the ball over his marker, before sliding a pass over to Kozlov. The right-back crosses and Belgium concede a corner.
50` Witsel looks in some pain now after an aerial clash with Kanunnikov. The Zenit man appears to have hurt his left shoulder when landing, but he does look able to continue.
48` Russia have looked bright down the left flank early on in this second half, with Kanunnikov seeing the ball a couple of times, even if he has given possession away.
46` Second half kicks off.
45` + 1` HALF-TIME!
45` There will be one minute of added time.
44` KOKORIN HAS TO SCORE! Glushakov does well to find space for himself on the left and he floats an exquisite cross into the area. Kokorin sneaks between Kompany and Vertonghen and meets it with a header, but he inexplicably misses the target. He has to at least make Courtois work from there!
43` Belgium clear the corner, but only as far as Faizulin on the edge of the area. The midfielder lines up a volley, but he blazes it over the bar.
42` Kozlov has been a decent outlet on the right for Russia and he gets forward again. While several of his previous forays have not resulted in much, this time he wins a corner as his cross is deflected behind.
40` Brilliant defending by Kompany! A loose ball is pounced on by Kokorin, who charges forward with only Kompany and Van Buyten to run at. He tries to give himself an advantage by weaving his way towards the area, but the Manchester City man deals with him expertly.
38` Yellow Card Denis Glushakov
38` There is the match's first yellow card as Glushakov is penalised for seeming to catch Mertens with a high foot. The Spartak Moscow man's first touch was poor, forcing him to overcompensate and he pays the price.
36` Fantastic wing play against from Mertens. Kombarov tries to show him inside and on to his left foot, but the Russian is completely beaten again, as Mertens darts down the right. He flashes a ball into the danger area, but Akinfeev parries it away.
35` Good play by Kozlov as he charges up the right flank, holds off Vertonghen and then plays the ball off the defender in an attempt to win a corner. However, the referee feels it ricocheted back on to the Russian and he therefore gives a goal kick. He isn't impressed.
33` Belgium have looked more composed and far better on the ball than in their opening match against Algeria, but they have struggled to create true clear-cut chances. Mertens has had a few sighters, but Lukaku has hardly had a touch. He does not look particularly interested, to be honest.
31` Substitution: Thomas Vermaelen out, Jan Vertonghen in.
30` Good stop by Courtois as Russia mount another attack. This time they make their way down the left and finally get a shot off through Faizulin, but Courtois parries it away.
29` Lovely ball in between Vermaelen and Kompany by Faizulin, inviting Kozlov forward, but the right-back's cross is dreadful and it goes straight over Courtois' goal.
27` RUSSIA PENALTY CLAIM DENIED! Kanunnikov, who has been very quiet so far, cut inside from the left and looked to have beaten Alderweireld. The Atletico Madrid man, however, stretched to make a tackle and caught the Russian, without getting much of the ball. Belgium are lucky there.
26` Kompany certainly tried to meet that corner and his run from deep had plenty of purpose, but Russia deal with it fairly easily. Capello's men eye a counterattack now.
25` Every time Belgium attack they are looking straight to Mertens and he beats Kombarov yet again, getting into the area in the process. However, Glushakov covers well and smashes the ball behind.
24` There's another pause in play now after an eye-watering clash of heads between Alderweireld and Kanunnikov.
22` Mertens is causing havoc at the moment. Once again he is one-on-one with Kombarov down the right and he cruises past the left-back. He gets a cross-cum-shot away, but no one is in the area to try to meet it.
20` MERTENS GOES CLOSE! Fine play by the Napoli star as he picks up possession just inside the Russia half, before charging towards the goal. He drops his left shoulder, suggesting a move inside, but he quickly jolts back on to his right foot and then shoots from distance, narrowly missing the bottom-right corner.
18` More encouraging play by Belgium, with De Bruyne involved again. This time he pops up on the right and floats a cross towards the back post, but it is just a little too quick for Fellaini.
16` This match has become quite open and Russia are now seeing plenty of the ball in the Belgium half, but their final ball is not impressing at the moment. This time it is Samedov, who tries to play Kozlov in down the right, but Hazard shields the ball out of play.
14` Fantastic run by De Bruyne as he darts in from the left, skipping past two challenges and then finds Mertens in the right side of the area. The winger fires into the danger zone, but Glushakov covers well, hacking away before Lukaku can get a shot away.
12` Good stop by Courtois! Kokorin does well to win the ball on the left and although his cross is intercepted, the ball is cleared only as far as Samedov, who squares to Faizulin. The midfielder fires at goal, but Courtois palms it away.
11` Belgium allow Russia some possession, finally, inside the attacking third and they are showing some purpose. Samedov, Shatov and Faizulin already look confident on the ball.
9` Russia have hardly had a touch of the ball so far. Belgium are dictating possession, making Russia chase them all over the pitch. On the few occasions that Capello's men have threatened to get on the ball, Witsel has been there to sweep up.
7` Belgium have made a much more encouraging start to this fixture than they did against Algeria. Their front three looks significantly more dynamic with Mertens playing in place of Chadli, while Fellaini is operating very close to Lukaku.
5` Good run by Mertens as he latches on to a lofted pass into the right side of the Russia area, holds of Berezutskiy and crosses into the area, but Lukaku had moved towards the near post, rather than the far.
4` We are having a brief pause in play currently as Vermaelen and Samedov seek medical attention following a clash of heads, but they both look fine to continue.
3` Russia break forward as they make the most of Belgium's defenders being well up the pitch. They eventually get into the attacking third as Kokorin is played in down the left. He runs at Alderweireld and cuts inside and on to his right foot, but his effort is blocked.
2` Good start by Belgium as Mertens get forward down the right and wins an early corner, but the delivery is easily cleared and Russia spring a counterattack.
1` Match underway at the Maracana as Belgium get us started.
Belgium picked up a morale-boosting 2-1 win over Algeria on matchday one and they are likely to have been made stronger by it, as they forced to battle until the end by the African side. Sofiane Feghouli gave Algeria the lead from the penalty spot and a Belgium win looked unlikely as they struggled to break their counterparts down. However, Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens starred after coming off the bench, netting the all-important goals in the final 20 minutes.
Russia subs: Ryzhikov, Lodygin, Schennikov, Semenov, Denisov, Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, Granat, Mogilevets, Zhirkov, Ionov, Eshchenko.
Russia (4-3-3): Akinfeev; Kombarov, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Kozlov; Faizulin, Glushakov, Shatov; Kanunnikov, Kokorin, Samedov.
Belgium subs: Mignolet, Bossut, Vertonghen, Mirallas, Defour, Origi, Lombaerts, Dembele, Januzaj, Vanden Borre, Chadli, Ciman.
Belgium (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vermaelen; Witsel, De Bruyne, Mertens, Fellainil Hazard; Lukaku.
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