Belgium booked a spot in the Round of 16 following their 1-0 victory over Russia at the Maracanã,Rio De Janeiro in a dreary FIFA World Cup group H Sunday afternoon encounter. The Red Devils took on the Russians knowing a victory could see them through to the next round while Fabio Capello’s troops were out to revive their campaign following a disappointing 1-1 draw against South Korea.
Despite chasing shadows, the Russians had the first shot at goal but it wasn’t enough to trouble Thibaut Courtois. The Belgians dominated proceedings throughout the first stanza but failed to score on numerous attempts as Russia looked to capitalise on counter attacks. Marc Wilmots made a forced substitution in the 30th minute when Jan Vertonghen replaced Thomas Vermaelen who hurt his knee during a warm up.
In the 43rd minute Aleksandr Kokorin found himself unmarked in the Belgian box but sent his header wide as the match went to the break with both sides deadlocked at 0-0. Capello’s men pushed forward more often in the second stanza but failed to benefit from it as Courtois was well protected by his defence. Both teams played to avoid defeat instead of going for the win causing the crowd to get frustrated and express their anger by booing the players.
The game sprung to life when the Belgians were exposed in the 80th minute allowing Andrei Eschenko to shoot but his shot went wide. As both sides looked to settle for a draw, substitute Divock Origi netted from a blind spot inside the area in the 88th minute sending the Red Devils to the second round.