Dark horse contenders Belgium have started their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign in the best way possible, coming from one goal down to beat Algeria 2-1 at the Estadio Mineirao early this morning.
Resounding favourites leading into Group H’s opening fixture, Belgium boasted a particularly talented squad filled with players plying their trade weekly for major European clubs, while Algeria were largely written off as ‘easy-beats’; making a comfortable Red Devils victory seemingly the only possible outcome.
Needing to burst from the gates if any chance of securing a famous victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Algeria immediately responded to all critics and took it to the Belgian line, maintaining possession and creating some truly impressive chances in the game’s opening 15 minutes.
In what was shaping as an absolute nightmare for the Belgians, Algeria continued to press forward and were eventually awarded a penalty just 25 minutes in when defender Jan Vertonghen was ruled to have pushed attacked Islam Slimani in the box, which was cooly slotted by Sofiane Feghouli.
Praying for the half-time break, Belgium were lucky not to concede again and offered virtually no threat in attack, with each raid was snuffed out by an adrenalin-rich Desert Warriors’ defence with relative ease.
Returning from the break in similarly disappointing form, Manager Marc Wilmots was forced to look to his bench, introducing Manchester United playmaker Marouane Fellaini who secured an immediate impact when finishing off a pinpoint accurate Kevin De Bruyne header on the 70th minute mark, just five minutes after entering the match.
With the leveller, heads appeared to lift in the Belgian ranks as the Red Devils continued to press forward and complete passes, find space and create exciting chances, which eventually resulted in a powerful strike from second substitute Dries Mertens burying the ball in the back of Mbolhi’s goal following impressive lead-up player from star Eden Hazard.
Maintaining the pressure through the final ten minutes of play, Belgium secured a campaign opening victory and three valuable competition points to perch themselves atop Group H.
Belgium will now return to the training park ahead of their second 2014 FIFA World Cup clash with fellow European hopefuls Russia on June 23rd, a match for which they are currently offered at generous odds of $2 to surely secure progression at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Gaining many fans in their spirited performance against Belgium, Algeria will play South Korea in round two of Pool fixtures, and are more than worth consideration at $3.20 odds.