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.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor