RIO DE JANEIRO, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The 19-year-old forward Divock Origi, who came off the bench in the second half, scored a late goal to help Belgium sink Russia 1-0 in World Cup Group H here on Sunday.
With two wins, Belgium booked a last-16 berth from the group which also contains Russia, South Korea and Algeria. In the first round, Belgium came from behind to beat Algeria 2-1, and Russia rallied to tie South Korea 1-1.
On 88 minutes of the lackluster game, Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard ran down the left and broke the Russian defense, sliding the ball to the 19-year-old. The Lille forward kept his cool and sidefooted into the roof of the net from close range.
Besides the key assist, Hazard's sharp breakthroughs in the last 10 minutes and a freekick hitting the pole awoke the fans at the scene. Hazard was voted the Man of the Match.
Both Belgium and Russia made a few changes from their opening games. Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens all started for Belgium, and Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli make way. For Russia, Alexey Kozlov and Maxim Kannunnikov started in place of Yury Zhirkov and Andrey Eschenko, who dropped to the bench.
Arsenal defender Vermaelen, who appeared to suffer an injury to his knee, was replaced by Tottenham defender Vertonghen in the 31st minute.
Belgium's first chance came in the 37th minute when De Bruyne played a lofted ball in behind the Russian defense, finding Mertens who cut inside and shot towards goal. However, Russia keeper Igor Akinfeev parried with firm hands away from danger.
Russia's best chance came on 44 minutes when Denis Glushakov galloped down the Russian left and curled a superb ball into the box. Forward Alexander Kokorin darted between the two Belgian central defenders and was left with a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring. He nodded wide, to the frustration of his teammates.
It's been a fairly even game, but Belgium are in the ascendancy thanks to some tricky wingplay.
In the 57th minute, Origi came off the bench to replace Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku spent last season on loan at Everton from Chelsea, made way for Origi for the second time this World Cup.
This substitution became the turning point of the game.
At their last World Cup encounter in 2002, Belgium won 3-2 in the group phase. Daniel Van Buyten was in the starting line-up for Belgium and Aleksandr Kerzhakov came on as a substitute for Russia. Current Belgium coach Marc Wilmots also played in that match and scored the third goal.