Belgium defeated Russia 1-0 through 19-year-old Divock Origi‘s late game-winner, becoming the youngest player to ever score for the Belgians in the World Cup. Both teams played a decent game, but the winners woke up and pressed when it truly mattered the most.
Origi jumped into the game to replace Romelu Lukaku who was subpar at best as he waited for the ball to come to him knowing that the defense had him locked down. With the goal today, the youngster may start in the final group game against South Korea and perhaps even after that in the Round of 16 as they clinched that spot with today’s victory.
The defense of Belgium were led by captain Vincent Kompany who locked down his player with ease and his teammates managed to follow in his example. The Russians were forced to take shots from outside of the area with only one or two good ones being created inside. However, the Belgian midfield at times were lazy which allowed their opponents too much time and space on the ball. It could have been a lot worse for them defensively.
Eden Hazard assisted the goal for Belgium, but he was a non-factor for the majority of the match until the final minutes. He was shut down for most of the match until then, which means that if he is going to be a factor against the bigger nations, he has to step up and find more space for himself.
Russia played a decent a game until the end when they simply stopped closing down on the build-up or the counter. They seemingly had no answer for Hazard, Origi or Kevin Mirallas who could have doubled the lead minutes after scoring. The firepower and movement was too much to handle after 80 minutes. What they need to do is pace themselves from now on to be able to contain a plethora of world class talent. In addition, they need to take better shots going forward and have someone push up to assist the lone striker.