clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

World Cup Round Up: Match Day 6

We've gone full circle, with each team in the World Cup, now having played their first game.

Quinn Rooney

The first matter of the day was to see how the team a lot of people expect to do so well and are excited to see would fair. No, not Algeria, but their opponents, Belgium.

There's a lot of expectations on the Red Devils, being tipped to do well in Brazil for near-on two years now, due to the massive influx of quality players they have produced in recent times.

They were even as high as fifth favourites to win the trophy going into the tournament, absurd when you consider this is the first taste of international tournament football for most, if not all, of the Belgian squad.

With high expectations, you get high pressure, and how far Belgium go in the World Cup will hinge on how they deal with the pressure.

Despite a bright start from Belgium, with Axel Witsel forcing a save out of Alergian goalkeeper, Raïs M'Bolhi, they were rocked on the 24th minute, when Jan Vertonghen, dragged down Valencia winger, Sofiane Feghouli, in the area and the referee awarded Algeria the penalty.

Feghouli lined up the spot kick and sent Thibaut Courtois the wrong way, to score Algeria's first World Cup goal in 28 years.

Belgium would go on to dominate from there on in, but found it difficult to breakdown a stubborn Algerian defence, with Witsel and Nacer Chadli both failing to beat M'bolhi.

Into the second half, Algeria came close to a second when a flicked header towards the back post went inches wide, and Elabri Soudani, couldn't get a touch to divert the ball goal wards.

But due to the pace of substitutes Dries Mertens and Divock Origi, Belgium  soon got on top of the game again, with both of them testing M'bolhi.

As the game wore on, the Algerian defence grew tired and gaps began to appear, and it was Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini, after such a dreadful season, who exploited one of those gaps to open up Belgium's account for the tournament.

Kevin de Bruyne's swinged ball into the box, was met by Fellaini, who did wonderfully well to get power on a glancing header, which bounced down of the cross bar and into the goal.

Ten minutes later. Belgium's come back was complete. De Bruyne won the ball of Feghouli, with a perfectly timed tackle, the ball was passed forward to Eden Hazard, who turned his marker and then there was no stoping him; he played the ball across to the advancing Mertens, who took a touch before firing the ball into the roof of the net.

It was nearly a third for Belgium late on, when Fellaini again got his head to a cross, but M'Bolhi made a fantastic save to tip the ball over the cross bar.

A team with lesser confidence and ability may have not been able to break down  such a resolute team as Algeria, but Belgium did, which puts them in good stead for the rest of the group matches.

Full Time: Belgium 2-1 Algeria

70 - Fellaini  24 - Feghouli (P)

80 Mertens

MOTM: Kevin de Bruyne

Unbelievably, we got our second 0-0 in two games next, with Mexico holding the hosts, Brazil, to a draw, largely thanks to the sensational performance from Guillermo Ochoa, in the Mexico goal.

The 'keeper, currently with out a club, made a string of fantastic saves to frustrate Brazil, who at the moment, look everything but potential winners.

It was Mexico who went closest first however, with Hector Herrera's dipping effort from outside the box, which was tipped over by Julio Cesar.

Ochoa's first brilliant save came when Neymar hit a powerful header goal ward, but Ochoa managed to claw the ball away, when half of the ball had already crossed the line.

Good build up play from Mexico, especially from Andres Guardado down the left, resulted in Jose Vasquez, bending a shot around the post.

Ochoa, then had to come out quickly to deny David Luiz who was in on goal, ensuring that the teams went in at half time with the scores level.

Ochoa, was then on hand again to save Neymar's half-vollley which was destined for the bottom corner. He then showed great reactions to bat away Thiago Silva's strong header, from a Neymar free kick.

Mexico were defending valiantly against Brazil and holding their own, but the usually so creative Brazil, looked out of ideas.

Late, late on into the game, a weaker referee would have given into the penalty claims when Marcelo went down in the box, but thankfully, this referee wasn't weak and deemed the challenge on Marcelo to not be foul, which was correct, because he dived when he had the opportunity to score. Shame on him.

Mexico nearly went up the other end and scored themselves going into added time, with Guardado, who took down a lobbed pass and hit the shot on the volley, which tested Cesar.

But the game finished all square, with Mexico earning them selves a well deserved point. Insane to think they nearly didn't make the tournament at all.

Full Time: Brazil 0-0 Mexico

MOTM: Guillermo Ochoa

I continued to deprive my self of much needed sleep, to watch our very own Wanderer, Chung-Yong Lee represent his country South Korea, against Russia.

The first half was largely uneventful, with only one long range Russian free kick going on target, despite that though, the game was quite entertaining and fun to watch. Lee looked promising early on, showing some bright touches and playing a wonderful ball that Park just couldn't control.

Russia came out for the second half with much more purpose, Jung in the Korean goal having to tip other the cross bar with just thirty seconds gone, and the resulting corner hitting the side netting from the Russia captain.

Korea didn't lie down though and came back fighting, with Ki Sung-yeung and Kim Yong-gwon both forcing Akinfeev into spilling the ball, but he managed to recover on both occasions, just in time. Will he get lucky a third time? I pondered.

One of Russia's best players, Dimitri Kombarov, then hit a low, driven effort from thirty yards, which Jung Sung-ryong, just about managed to deal with.

Korean striker, Lee Keun-ho, then drove forward with the ball and with no Russian defender closing him down, he decided to hit a shot from 25 yards out. It was right at Igor Akinfeev, and the very experienced goalkeeper should have caught the ball, but he would not get lucky for a third time, and instead the ball slipped through his hands and dropped into the goal.

Akinfeev looked like a broken man, but lucky for him, the goalkeeper at the other end of the pitch wasn't the best either. Alan Dzagoev, managed to find space in the box and shoot on goal, Jung saved the shot, but he palmed the ball right into the danger area, a Korean defender attempted to clear the lose ball but it was blocked by a Russian player, the ball eventually fell to Russia's deadly striker,  Alexander Kerzhakov, who couldn't miss from five yards out.

1-1 was how the game would finish, and it sets up group H, for an intriguing few fixtures, with no clear favourite for the second place slot.

Full Time: Russia 1-1 South Korea

74 - Kerzhakov 68 - Lee Keun-ho

MOTM: Dimitri Kombarov

The quality of the action has died down a bit the last couple of days, so lets all have a little, silent prayer to the football gods and hope it picks up again soon,eh?

World Cup Player Pun of the Day:

Eden Hazard

Eden Verysafe