Belgium 2 Algeria 1 – Patient Red Devils enjoy a winning start
Belgium come from behind to beat a defensive Algeria team thanks to goals from Fellaini and Mertens
June 17th, 2014
It was a long time coming but Belgium managed to break down a stubborn Algerian rearguard to claim an opening win in Group H and demonstrate that they could yet be contenders for the 2014 World Cup.
The Red Devils initially struggled to create meaningful chances against their African opponents and it was Algeria who took the lead in the 24th minute when Jan Vertonghen was caught out of position and hauled down his man.
Sofiane Feghouli made no mistake from the penalty spot and Belgium spent the remainder of the half trying unsuccessfully to the eleven men who stationed themselves behind the ball.
Marc Wilmots wasn’t shy of making changes in the second half, with Nacer Chadli making way for Dries Mertens, although the most telling substitution came in the 65th minute when Marouane Fellaini entered the pitch.
The midfielder made a massive impact in the final 25 minutes of the game, scoring his team’s equaliser and working a treat against a tiring Algerian defence who couldn’t handle the aggression shown by the Manchester United man.
Belgium scored their winner in the 80th minute when a brilliant tackle from Kevin de Bruyne saw Eden Hazard finally run through into space and his excellent cross field ball found Mertens who smashed home the winning goal.
The Red Devils are now strong favourites to qualify from Group H and they will want to avoid playing Germany in the next stage, with Russia taking on South Korea in the other game.