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World Cup 2014
June 17, 2014
• 12:00 PM
• Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Referee: M. Rodríguez
• Attendance: 56800
M. Fellaini 70'
D. Mertens 80'
S. Feghouli 25'
Belgium top Group H prior to South Korea taking on Russia later on but they were made to work hard for their victory - something they will likely need to get used to. I've been Matthew Rogerson, thanks for joining me.
Algeria's late throw was cleared well and their gamble to sit on a one-goal lead has failed. Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens ensure Wilmots' men are up and running.
90' + 4'
FULL-TIME: BELGIUM 2-1 ALGERIA
90' + 2'
Belgium are now looking to see out the game with some old-fashioned corner flag keep-ball but it breaks down. A minute left of injury time and Belgium have some defending to do.
We're into injury time now and Belgium look to have done enough. Barring any late drama, Wilmots' men will make a winning start in Brazil.
Time running out for Algeria and Belgium continue to stretch their opponents. Fellaini could have had a second but he stumbles inside the area after Origi played him in. Fellaini has made such a big difference to Belgium since coming on.
FELLAINI SO CLOSE - Another header from the Belgian but this time it's tipped over the bar by M'Bolhi.
Halilhodzic looks gutted on the sidelines but they had it coming. Algeria have sat back and invited pressure for much of the second half.
Goal Dries Mertens
2-1 TO BELGIUM - MERTENS FIRES HOME!!! De Bruyne challenges Feghouli and from there Belgium break with rapid speed. Hazard feeds Mertens who puts his country on top for the first time in the match with a fierce finish at the near post. Mertens has deserved his goal and Algeria must be more adventurous now.
Assist Eden Hazard
We're approaching the last 10 minutes and Belgium are pressing hard for the winner. Fellaini almost playing as a striker alongside Origi and it's paid dividends so far.
De Bruyne and Fellaini almost link again but the latter is offside from a cross. He looks set to play a key role for Belgium in the last 15 or so minutes.
All the talk was about Belgium's flair players in the forward line but it's the imposing central midfielder who makes the difference. Off the bench, he's hauled his country level and has Wilmots sprinting down the touchline with joy!
Assist Kevin De Bruyne
Goal Marouane Fellaini
FELLAINI LEVELS - It's all square as the towering midfielder glances De Bruyne's cross onto the underside of the crossbar and in. All the momentum looks set to be with Belgium now. Can they complete a comeback?
The pacey Islam Slimani will ask a few questions of Belgium's defence but Kompany deals with his first foray down the right. At the other end Mertens' delivery is dealt with.
Belgium ramping up the pressure here and Origi sees an effort saved when slipped through on goal. Can Algeria hang on?
Dembele makes way for Fellaini in what is the final change for Belgium. Are they set to go more direct in the latter stages?
Algeria are keeping the ball well and making Belgium's defence move around a bit. It's all adding to the frustration of Wilmots and co.
HALF AN HOUR TO GO - Can Belgium break down Algeria in the final 30 minutes. The Algerian defence is so deep now that it could take something special to level the scores. Will any of Belgium's forward players be able to conjur anything up?
Origi replaces Lukaku up front. The 19-year-old from Lille will lead the line for Belgium now in what looks a surprise move. Lukaku has been quiet in this game but was in fine form during their World Cup friendlies.
SO CLOSE TO A SECOND - Carl Medjani glances a header wide from a corner. A reminder of Algeria's threat as they go so close to doubling their advantage.
Still nothing doing however, while Belgium haven't taken advantage of their skilful individuals, they have also struggled to dominate aerially - even with the likes of Kompany and Van Buyten wandering up for set-pieces.
Mertens really has made a difference and he'll fling in another delivery here from the right.
Courtois almost lingers too long on a backpass but other than that, Belgium have been dominant since the break.
Hazard and Mehdi Mostefa go down after a late tackle from the Algerian defender. Looked a painful collision but they're both back on their feet soon after.
DANGEROUS! Mertens' delivery finds an unmarked Witsel at the far post. However, he can't adjust his body sufficiently and plants his header over the bar. Better stuff from the Belgians and Wilmots will be pleased with their start to the second half.
Belgium are playing with more purpose already, with Dembele striding through central midfield and helping Belgium win a corner. What can Mertens conjur up?
We're back underway and Wilmots has opted to replace Chadli with Mertens. He'll play down the right and will be tasked with helping to break down Algeria.
Could we see Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj or Napoli man Dries Mertens in the second half? Both would shake things up a bit for Wilmots in the final third and give Algeria something else to think about.
Feghouli's penalty separates the sides at the break and Belgium now know they will need to demonstrate their attacking quality if they are to break down stubborn opposition in the second half. Wilmots' men have been frustrated for long spells but, with the likes of Hazard, De Bruyne and Chadli, I wouldn't write them off just yet.
45' + 2'
HALF-TIME: Belgium 0-1 Algeria
Hazard and Chadli finally get behind Algeria but can't find a way past M'Bolhi. The Chelsea man then delivers across the six-yard box shortly after but there are no takers. Playing like this, Belgium won't want half-time to come.
A spell of pressure from Belgium but the Algerian defence refuses to buckle. Chadli is the latest to shoot from distance and, as with previous shots, it sails off target.
Vertonghen looks to make amends for his earlier foul but hits it high and wide - that sums up his half in many respects. What will Wilmots have on his mind ahead of the half-time break?
Alderweireld is fouled as he goes to shoot. Can they muster something from the free-kick? De Bruyne and Vertonghen standing over it...
FRUSTRATIONS CONTINUE FOR BELGIUM - They've been given no time on the ball by Algeria and have been punished for their one slip-up. An equaliser before half-time would certainly ease Belgian worries however.
Yellow Card Nabil Bentaleb
His corner sails over everyone and Mahrez is fouled on the break - more frustration for Belgium.
CORNER TO BELGIUM - De Bruyne looking dangerous again as he weaves through Algeria's defence to win a corner.
De Bruyne's free-kick goes high and wide although he doesn't seem happy with the Algerian wall. Looks to be suggesting there was some encroachment.
STAT - Sofiane Feghouli is the first player to score for Algeria at the World Cup since Djamel Zidane on June, 3rd 1986.
Mousa Dembele looks to threaten an equaliser but his strike from outside the area is weak and drifts harmlessly wide.
Witsel goes close again from distance - but it's tipped wide by M'Bolhi. The Algerian keeper has answered everything asked of him so far today.
Algeria's first dangerous foray into Belgium's half and it sees Vertonghen caught out by a combination of a dangerous cross from the left and the pacey Feghouli. Can Wilmots' men draw level before the break?
Penalty Goal Sofiane Feghouli
GOOOOAAALLLL - The Valencia man sends Courtois the wrong way and calmly puts Algeria in front.
Yellow Card Jan Vertonghen
PENALTY TO ALGERIA - Vertonghen brings down Feghouli...
GREAT HIT - Axel Witsel fires an effort from distance but Rais M'Bolhi is equal to it. Far too much space afforded to the Zenit man.
Van Buyten's in action at the other end shortly after as Soudani robs him of possession and finds himself through on goal. The striker fires into the side netting however.
EFFORT FROM DISTANCE - Van Buyten given plenty of space to wander into and he goes for goal from distance but it's deflected out for a throw in.
Conversely, Halilhodzic suggested Belgium could be vulnerable at the back. However, Taider and Feghouli have not yet been able to test Kompany and Van Buyten sufficiently.
Belgium skipper Vincent Kompany said the game would be "like a chess match" in the build-up and, as yet, he's not been far off. Both sides are matching one another well here - can one of Wilmots' attacking gems create something special to break the deadlock?
Feghouli looks to go long for Soudani but it's overhit. Plenty of attacking intent from both teams early on but no real chances of note.
Looks as though Belgium are beginning to find their feet after a slow start - De Bruyne, Hazard and Chadli are searching for an opening but the Algerian defence stands firm.
Hazard and De Bruyne link down the right but the Wolfsburg man can't keep the ball in play.
Belgium not having it all their own way early on as Algeria look to stifle the creativity among their opposing front line. Halilhodzic will be pleased with this...
Early free-kick as Daniel Van Buyten fouls El Arbi Hillel Soudani but Algeria waste the delivery.
...AND WE'RE UNDERWAY. Algeria kick us off, playing from right to left in the Brazilian sunshine.
The teams are in the tunnel and we're all set for the anthems at the Estadio Mineirao. Will Belgium live up to the hype or can Algeria spring a surprise?
Much of the focus will be on what Belgium's attacking ranks can muster. However, the likes of Inter's Saphir Taider and Valencia danger man Sofiane Feghouli could cause problems for Vincent Kompany and co. Spurs' 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb becomes Algeria's youngest player to feature at a World Cup.
Despite injury fears in the build-up to today's encounter, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne are among the starters while Divock Origi and Thomas Vermaelen make the bench.
ALGERIA SUBSTITUTES: Si Mohammed, Zemmamouche, Belkalem, Mesbah, Yebda, Lacen, Ghilas, Brahimi, Slimani, Cadamuro, Djabou, Mandi
ALGERIA STARTING XI: Rais, Bougherra, Ghoulam, Halliche, Feghouli, Medjani, Bentaleb, Soudani, Taider, Mahrez, Mostefa
BELGIUM SUBSTITUTES: Mignolet, Bossut, Vermaelen, Lombaerts, Vanden Borre, Ciman, Fellaini, Defour, Januzaj, Mirallas, Mertens, Origi
BELGIUM STARTING XI: Courtois, Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen, Witsel, Dembele, De Bruyne, Hazard, Chadli, Lukaku
My name's Matthew Rogerson and I'll be guiding you through the first game of the day as Algeria look to spring a surprise against a much talked about Belgium side. Belgian coach Marc Wilmots has a host of talent at his disposal but Vahid Halilhodzic will hope his men can bring their opponents down to earth early on. Let's have a look at their respective line-ups...
Hello and welcome to this live play-by-play coverage of Belgium versus Algeria in the opening game of Group H at the FIFA World Cup in Belo Horizonte. Both sides will look to steal a march on group rivals Russia and South Korea, who meet later today.
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