South Korea vs Belgium match report World Cup 2014: Jan Vertonghen makes it three wins from three

South Korea 0 Belgium 1

Arena de Sao Paulo

They have revealed little across the course of the past few weeks to strike fear into the heart of United States, their second round opponents, but Belgium have certainly uncovered a new star.

All the talk as they arrived here was of their dazzling Premier League commodities: Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Adnan Januzaj. But for the third time in this tournament it was Lille’s relatively unknown 19-year-old substitute Divock Origi whose substitute’s contribution proved decisive. A key contribution against Algeria, the late goal against Russia and finally a stinging shot from him here, parried away for Jan Vertonghen to follow up and score, Origi has needed little time to make his mark from the bench. He has reason to demand more than a place there next time.

The South Koreans’ World Cup was not over. Even when Russia took their early lead against the Algerians, a 2-0 win would have seen them through. That kind of result should not have been within the bounds of possibility against a European nation who came into this tournament as the brilliant, young dark horse of their own continent. But Belgium once again failed to live up to that label.

 

They were sloppy and slack in possession in what developed into an even first half. Moussa Dembele’s error allowed Sunderland’s Ki Sung-yueng – the architect of the Korean game - to seize possession and deliver a shot from the edge of the penalty area which Thibaut Courtois did well to palm away to his right.

The Belgians gradually began to assume some control, with a side which included seven new faces from their last win over Russia – a sign that Marc Wilmots had the second round clash against the United States at Salvador in mind.

Divock Origi after the match Divock Origi after the match  

His players were presented with one of the stand-out goalscoring opportunities of the World Cup group stage when the Korean defenders played pinball with a Kevin Mirallas’ shot in the area, after the Everton striker collected from Marouane Fellaini’s knock-down header. But when the ball fell at the feet of Napoli’s Dries Mertens, he conspired to blast it over the bar.

There is an eccentric side to the South Koreans.  The nation’s huge interest in the sport has not translated into as high a technical component among the side as it ought to have done. And no-one has told goalkeeper, Kim Seung-gyu, that he is permitted to catch the ball, rather than launch spectacular punches at it. But Belgium still failed to make good on the class differential.

They did not supply Manchester United’s 19-year-old Januzaj, who became the second youngest player, after Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside, from the same club to play in a World Cup finals.

 

And the frustration with the deadlock seemingly contributed to the mindless decision by Porto’s Steven Defour, to go into a two-footed challenge on  Kim Shin-wook in the closing stages of the first half. Defour planted studs on Kim’s right leg and was justifiably dismissed.

Januzaj and Fellaini did get their chance to link up after the break. If the World Cup has done little for the international reputation of Lukaku, kept to the bench after two starts which did not even last an hour, it has provided a reminder of the strength Fellaini can bring. He flourished again in the advance No 8 role which his team-mates have been insisting for the past two weeks that David Moyes should have used him for. He had a strong penalty appeal when he had clipped Januzaj’s ball beyond Hong Jeong-ho and the defender clattered into him.

 

The loss of Defour did not cause the Belgians difficulties. But there was still a parity till  Vertonghen’s late strike. The influential Ki, who is on loan to Wearside from Swansea, floated a cross onto the top of bar, and Wilmots’ decision to withdraw Januzaj and Mertens  on the hour revealed his need for different options.

Then came the decisive goal, followed by Eden Hazard, another substitute, bursting  into the area and forcing another smart save from Kim Seung-gyu. Belgium have found an exciting new property.

The group stage has been characterised by a need to chop and change a side struggling for a rhythm..

Now they need more from the players we thought we knew all about.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game