By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on April 23, 2014
Group H is one of the more intriguing groups in the 2014 World Cup, as there is no world power in the group that’s expected to dominate, but the group includes a few teams that are considered dark horses for the entire candidate. The combination of Belgium, Algeria, Russia, and South Korea should put on a good show. Here is a prediction of how every Group H match will turn out.
With high expectations coming into the World Cup, Belgium gets off to a fast start against a clearly out-matched Algeria side. This won is a bit more lopsided than the final score would indicate, as Belgium walks away from its opening match with an easy three points.
The Russians show some offensive firepower with two quick goals and they look good to capture three points after taking that lead into the second half. But Russia has trouble staying disciplined in the second 45 minutes, allowing the South Koreans to come back and tie the game. By the time the teams are level, Russia has taken its foot off the gas and isn't able to push for a decisive goal.
After cruising to a win in their first match, Belgium comes out flat in this one, which allows Russia to once again score two quick goals. This time around, the Russians are tougher defensively, preventing Belgium from scoring the equalizer and giving them three points.
After a scoreless first half, South Korea strikes soon after halftime and looks confident to take three points, but a brief defensive lapse late allows the Algerians to find the equalizer in the 87th minute, a crushing blow to South Korea's chances of advancing.
The South Koreans know they need a win to advance, and after a scoreless first half, they start pushing forward in search of a goal, which leaves them vulnerable in the back. Belgium is able to take advantage of all the empty space, and after a disappointing result in their previous match, they stay focused and finish two of their scoring chances in the second half.
Algeria hangs tough and doesn't make things easy for the Russians, but they eventually break through and find a goal. That goal sucks all the life out of Algeria, making it easy for Russia to hold the ball for the rest of the 90 minutes, giving them the win and the group.
To the surprise of many, Russia wins the group after earning seven points and showing off a fair amount of offensive prowess. Belgium also advances out of the group with six points, giving them a chance to make some noise in the knockout stage of the tournament. Meanwhile, South Korea goes home with two points and a lot of missed opportunities, joined by Algeria, who goes home after the group stage once again.
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