RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Divock Origi came off the bench to rescue three points for Belgium with a goal in the 88th minute, handing his side a 1-0 win over Russia at the Maracana on Sunday that puts Belgium into the knockout round.
The first 80 minutes of the match produced little in the way of offensive output for either side, but Origi gave the match its one moment of quality to hand Belgium its second win in as many games.
Belgium needed a pair of goals in the second half to overcome Algeria, 2-1, in its opening contest, and it took another late show on Sunday with Eden Hazard and Origi combining on the lone goal.
“We didn’t play well, apart from the last 10 minutes,” Hazard said. “The subs brought a bit of freshness, but perhaps the Russian defense was also pretty tired by then. Personally speaking, I feel good. I’ve been trying to make a difference, and often I end up doing that at the end of matches - that proves that I feel fresh.”
The Russians asked most of the questions after the break, yet they were unable to put a number of headers on target before a first-time shot from Andrey Eshchenko rolled narrowly wide of the far post.
However, Belgium came to life at the end of the game, and after Mirallas struck the post, Hazard popped up to set up the lone goal.
The Chelsea star took possession of the ball on the left wing and dribbled to the end line, where he pulled a pass back to Origi, who struck it first-time into the roof of the net past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Algeria 4, South Korea 2
Algeria struck three times in a span of 12 first-half minutes on Sunday en route to a comfortable 4-2 destruction of South Korea at the Estadio Beira-Rio.
Islam Slimani opened the scoring for Algeria after 26 minutes and Rafik Halliche doubled the advantage two minutes later. Abdelmoumene Djabou then made it a three-goal margin for the Algerians in the 38th minute.
South Korea got back into the match five minutes into the second half through a goal from Bayer Leverkusen man Son Heung-Min, but 12 minutes later Yacine Brahimi restored Algeria’s three-goal cushion.