It was a bright Sunday afternoon at the legendary Estadio Maracana, overflowing with spectators eager to see a high-quality game of football. Belgium was playing against Russia, a win for the Belgians would ascertain their position in the knock-out stage. The match was underway at a slow pace and the spectators certainly did not get their money’s worth. After an hour, the fans started whistling and a man who was asleep was shown on the big screen. It was that kind of a day, with both teams trying to penetrate through each other’s defence. The experienced Belge had a different strategy from their opponents. They kept most of the ball, but lacked finesse at the last third. Russians with a strong defence kept the assaults at bay and tried to counter-attack. They were successful for the first 80 minutes. But after some tactical changes and the substitutions, the Belge, had an extra jump to their step. They were attacking the Russian’s goal ruthlessly, which led to the Belgium number 10 saying “We didn’t play a very good match,” Hazard added “The last 10 minutes were good. That’s all.”
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Their efforts paid off in the 88th minute with Eden Hazard coming in from the flanks with a great run, beat defender Andrey Yeshchenko, and delivered the ball into the danger zone. And guess who was at the end of it – a 19-year old forward who goes by the name of Divock Origi. He was brought on for Lukaku in the 57th minute. He sent a shot off the fingertips of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, and Belgium, which had wasted all of its earlier chances, at last had a goal. He became the youngest scorer for Belgium at the World Cup finals. His father also played football for the Kenyan National Team. This was only his fourth appearance for his country. It is the second time that Belgium has scored in the last minutes to be the victors in a match. Earlier, they came back from behind in a close encounter against Algeria winning it 2-1 at the end.
Now, Belgium has qualified for the knock-out stages and they will probably play with the United States who drew with Portugal by 2-2 in a thrilling match last night. The Dark Horses are certainly proving their metal by scoring when it mattered. The Russians on the other hand would have to come to blows with Algeria if they are to proceed in the tournament.
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