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BRAZIL 2014 DAY 11


by Mathew Marshall

Belgium 1 Russia 0

Korkorin had Russia's best first half chance unmarked header wide in a game neither side looked like winning. Alderweireld was fortunate not to give away a penalty as Belgium looked off the pace, the concept of closing down apparently an unfamiliar one as they allowed Russia to repeatedly cross from wide positions.

Once again Wilmots was forced to shake things up with substitutions, Origi replacing a poor Lukaku and Mirallas on for Mertens as Belgium finally increase their effort. The final ten minutes saw Mirallas hit the post from a free kick, Hazard shoot wide before the Chelsea winger drove into the box and cut his pass back for Origi, a confident side footed finish from the teenager past Akinfeev giving Belgium a late 1-0 lead.

Another slow start for Belgium, finally getting into gear late on but the form of Lukaku and many of his team mates will be a concern for Wilmots. Capello has little to work with and Russia don't deserve to go to the next round.

Algeria 4 Korea Republic 2

Islam Slimani got the start up front for Algeria and was causing Korea all sorts of problems, finally getting the breakthrough in the 26th minute. Two minutes later Algeria doubled their lead, Korean keeper Sung-Ryong Jung flapping at a corner allowing Halliche a free header. Another Algerian long ball fell to Slimani again, this time teeing up Djabou with the Korean defence all over the place.

It could not have been a worse first half for Korea Republic, comprehensively dominated by Algeria with Slimani relishing his start and terrorising his Asian counterparts.

The second half began with Heung-Min Son putting it through M'Bolhi's legs to start a potential Korean comeback. They had chances to narrow the deficit to one goal, however Algeria had other ideas. Feghouli and Brahimi rounded off a fine team move with a clever one-two inside the area, Brahimi a composed finish for a 4-1 lead.

Ja-Cheol Koo got one back with twenty minutes remaining, Algeria holding firm to put their tournament future in their own hands, they now face Russia while Korea will need to sort themselves out if they are any chance of beating Belgium.

USA 2 Portugal 2

Portugal took an early lead in Manaus as Veloso's harmless ball into the box miskicked by Cameron straight to Nani who beat a helpless Howard from close range. Dempsey had a couple of chances, a free kick high then his shot blocked by Beto from a tight angle.

A tight first half ended with Portuguese chances, Ronaldo setting up Nani with Howard saving, Ronaldo's free kick well over then Howard producing a magnificent double save, tipping Nani's effort off the post then denying Eder from the rebound.

Paulo Bento moved Miguel Veloso to left back after William Carvalho replaced Andre Almeida at half time.  

Fabian Johnson continued to be allowed space down Portugal's left side, a frequent area of attack for the Americans all game long with Ronaldo uninterested in defending. Another Johnson attack lead to Michael Bradley with a clear shot, somehow Ricardo Costa denying him with a clearance off the line.

Portugal were content to try and get their second goal on the counter attack but much of their play was predictable and nullified by USA. Eder wasted a good opportunity and Ronaldo shot well wide but USA continued to attack the exposed left side of Portugal's defence, winning a corner from which they equalised. The ball fell to Jermaine Jones outside the box, skipping inside Nani before unleashing a powerful curling shot through traffic to leave Beto a mere spectator.

Nani's cross found Meireles with Howard saving again, the Manchester United winger then going solo with his effort high and wide. With ten minutes remaining Portugal's survival in Brazil was dealt a savage blow with another USA goal. USA simply played the ball around Miguel Veloso at left back, this time DeAndre Yedlin around the back, Bradley to Zusi to Dempsey from close range, 2-1 to USA.

Celebrations were put on hold however, Bradley dispossessed and with the last attack of the game, Ronaldo crossed for Varela to power his header past Howard to finish 2-2 and give Portugal a very slight chance to escape Group G.