Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the match between Belgium and Algeria at the World Cup finals in Brazil.
By Darren Plant, Reporter Filed: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 16:00 UK
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 22:47 UK
Belgium have come back from behind to record a 2-1 victory over Algeria in the opening match in Group H.
Marc Wilmots's team have been touted as the dark horses for the tournament, but they were disappointing for the opening 60 minutes as Algeria held onto a 1-0 lead given to them by Sofiane Feghouli.
However, Belgium improved after the introduction of Marouane Fellaini, and after the Manchester United midfielder had headed in an equaliser, Dries Mertens netted the winner 10 minutes from time to earn his team a valuable three points.
Read below to see how the action unfolded in Belo Horizonte.
4.01pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the match in Group H between Belgium and Algeria at the World Cup finals.
4.03pmAs well as all the big-hitters, there is one team that many football supporters have been looking forward to viewing - Belgium. A few years ago, Belgium were nothing more than your average European national side who rarely tested the top teams, but this time around, they have the potential to make a significant impact at this tournament.
4.07pmIt's been 12 years since De Rode Duivels graced the biggest football competition in the world, and even then, they only made it to the last 16, but it would be considered a major disappointment if Marc Wilmots's squad of emerging world-class stars didn't qualify for the last eight in Brazil, and some consider Belgium to have a shot at reaching the final. Only time will tell whether any of that comes to fruition, but they've been given a favourable start in the form of Algeria.
4.10pmAlgeria are making just their fourth appearance at a World Cup finals, and none of their three previous attempts at winning the Jules Rimet trophy have gone to plan. The African nation have won just twice in nine games at a World Cup, the last of which came in 1982, and they have only scored one goal in their last six matches at the finals.
4.13pmEnough of the history lesson for now. Let me bring you the team news coming from Belo Horizonte.
4.15pmBELGIUM XI: Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vertonghen; Witsel, Dembele, Chadli, De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku
4.18pmNot a bad team, huh? There were doubts over Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, but both players are named in Belgium's starting lineup, while Daniel van Buyten is preferred to soon-to-be Manchester United (allegedly...) defender Thomas Vermaelen.
4.20pmIf you thought that the starting XI looked strong, there doesn't appear to be any respite on the bench either, with the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj and Kevin Mirallas all ready to be utilised if things don't go Belgium's way during the opening hour.
4.29pmAlgeria's squad contains just two players who are based in their domestic league, both of which are the reserve goalkeepers, so Vahid Halilhodzic's side is made up of 11 players who currently ply their trade in Europe. Viewers of English football will be familiar with the names of Madjid Bougherra, Nabil Bentaleb and Riyad Mahrez.
4.33pmYou probably already know this, but I'm going to tell you anyway. This is just the first of three World Cup fixtures taking place on Tuesday. Shortly after the conclusion of this game, Brazil will play their second match of the tournament against Mexico before Russia and South Korea, who are the other two teams in Group H, face each other to complete the first round of games at the tournament. As ever, you can follow all of the action on Sports Mole.
4.38pmBELGIUM KEY MAN! A number of players are regarded as key men for Belgium, but I imagine that Algeria will be most concerned with containing the flair of Eden Hazard. The Chelsea man has just enjoyed a stellar campaign at Stamford Bridge, scoring 17 goals in 49 appearances, and if he can reproduce that kind of form for his country, Algeria could be in for a difficult 90 minutes.
4.42pmALGERIA KEY MAN! Despite making just 19 appearances for his country, Sofiane Feghouli is arguably the keg figure in Algeria's side. The Valencia midfielder is just 24 years of age, but his experience of playing at a higher level could help his teammates, and he will need to perform if Algeria are to gain a result.
4.46pmIt's been an eventful six months for Nabil Bentaleb. He didn't make his professional debut until December 2013!
#BEL 0-0 #ALG: Nabil Bentaleb (19y-205d) becomes the youngest player and first teenager to play for Algeria at the World Cup.
4.49pmPREDICTION! While it may take them a small amount of time to find their feet at the tournament, it's hard to see Belgium failing to get the desired result today. The quality in their team from back to front is superb, and providing that their young squad isn't overawed by the occasion, Belgium should ease to the three points, perhaps by a 3-0 scoreline.
4.53pmThe two teams are making their way out to the traditional theme tune of the World Cup. We look to have a decent crowd in Belo Horizonte.
4.56pmHere's a stat for you - if Algeria don't score in the opening 35 minutes, they will hold the record for the longest non-scoring streak in World Cup history. That's not a record that you particularly want to hold...
2 minAlgeria win an early free kick after a foul from Daniel van Buyten, but the ball into the box is easily headed clear. Belgium have been forced back into their own half for the opening two minutes.
5 minThere appears to be a pro-Algeria crowd in Belo Horizonte today. Belgium are being greeted by boos when they manage to get hold of possession. It's been the underdogs who have had most of the ball so far.
8 minKevin de Bruyne pings a wonderful pass out to Eden Hazard on the left-hand side, but the Chelsea man is too eager to try to draw the foul out of the defender and he easily gets dispossessed. Moments later, the same happens again, and it hasn't been a very impressive start from the 23-year-old.
12 minI can't imagine that Marc Wilmots will be too happy with his team's application so far. Passes are being misplaced and the ball is being mis-controlled under pressure from Algeria. They need to up the tempo because their opponents are finding it too easy to snuff out any attack that comes their way.
14 minA Mexican wave is making its way around the stadium. That's how eventful the match has been so far...
18 minDaniel van Buyten tries to fire the ball into the top corner from 40 yards, but his driven effort strikes the first defender and goes out for a throw-in. Back up the other end, Algeria's Riyad Mahrez gets the better of the Belgian defender in the final third but he can only fire harmlessly wide of the post from 12 yards.
21 minSHOT! Finally, we have a shot on target, and it comes from Belgium's Alex Witsel. Space opened up for him around 30 yards out, and after taking a touch to set himself up, he fired the ball powerfully towards goal, only to see Rais M'Bohi punch the ball clear. Decent strike.
25 minI don't think anyone expected that! Algeria take the lead thanks to a penalty from Sofiane Feghouli. The Valencia man looked ready to head the ball on goal before being tugged back by Jan Vertonghen, but the Valencia man got back to his feet to send Thibaut Courtois the wrong way to give his team a surprise advantage.
29 minIn scoring that goal, Algeria avoid breaking that unwanted record of failing to score for the longest amount of time at a World Cup finals. Their gratitude should be shown in Jan Vertonghen's direction...
32 minIf this continues, Marc Wilmots will surely have to make an alteration at the break. His current team are offering nothing in attacking areas, while they are looking susceptible when Algeria try to break. They have plenty of options, though, so no need to panic...yet.
34 minBOOKING! That's a bit silly from Nabil Bentaleb. His team are in control here, yet he has just directed an elbow into the back of Mousa Dembele's head. He gets a yellow card, but it could have been much worse.
39 minBelgium win a free kick around 25 yards out and it appears to favour a left-footer. However, Jan Vertonghen's strike is never threatening the Algeria goal, with the ball nearly finding its way to the back of the stand. That's how bad it was...
43 minIt's in these type of games where you can begin to appreciate why Jose Mourinho isn't such a fan of Romelu Lukaku. He has hardly had a kick. In fairness, he has been isolated to a degree but he has been dispossessed far too easily on several occasions.
44 minCHANCE! Eden Hazard escapes the attention of his marker for the first time in this match before playing the ball through to Nacer Chadli. The Spurs midfielder's first touch isn't the best, but he manages to get a shot, albeit weak, on target from 12 yards.
5.49pmThe referee blows the half-time whistle in Belo Horizonte, and Algeria hold a surprise 1-0 lead over Belgium. It has been a game of few chances, but no-one can begrudge the minnows of their lead. Belgium have been poor, and unless Marc Wilmots tinkers with his formation during the break, the dark horses for the tournament could struggle to find an equaliser.
5.54pmThe statistics indicate that Belgium have been in full control, but that hasn't been the case. The European outfit have had 70% of possession while creating nine shots on goal compared to Algeria's two. Despite the amount of attempts that they have had, a cutting edge in the final third has been non-existent and that needs to change if they are to get back into this match.
6.00pmThe two teams are beginning to make their way out into the bright sunlight that is present in Belo Horizonte. Belgium's Nacer Chadli has been withdrawn, with Dries Mertens being introduced in his place.
48 minMertens should offer Belgium more of a direct approach on either flank. The alteration has also seen Kevin de Bruyne revert to his more familiar role behind Romelu Lukaku.
50 minCHANCE! Should Alex Witsel have done a lot better there? Rais M'Bohi failed to deal with a Eden Hazard corner, but the ball arrived too early for Witsel to adjust to the pace of the ball, which resulted in the Zenit St Petersburg midfielder heading over from six yards.
52 minDries Mertens has already had an effect for Belgium, out-pacing his marker before sending a low cross to the near post. However, the ball was just out of the reach of Romelu Lukaku, and M'Bohli was able to claim.
56 minCHANCE! Algeria come oh so close to getting a second. An inswinging corner was whipped in from the left, which Carl Medjani rise above the Belgium defence to head narrowly wide of the far post.
57 minSUBSTITUTION! Wow, this is a big call from Marc Wilmots. The Belgium coach has decided to replace Romelu Lukaku with 19-year-old Divork Origi. Despite a disappointing display, I didn't see that coming.
61 minJan Vertonghen needs to be careful. He already has a yellow card for his role in the penalty, and he has just mistimed a challenge on Sofiane Feghouli on the right touchline. There was little malice, but he took a risk that he didn't need to take.
65 minSUBSTITUTION! Here comes the third and final change for Belgium. Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini replaced Mousa Dembele.
66 minCHANCES! Straight away, Fellaini gets himself involved around the penalty area, and after the ball finds Kevin de Bruyne, he lays it off to Jan Vertonghen, but he gets his left-footed effort all wrong and it goes wide of the near post. Less than 60 seconds later, Divork Origi was sent clear on goal but his driven shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Rais M'Bolhi.
70 minSomewhere in the world, David Moyes is cursing at the screen, wondering where that kind of finish was during his time with Manchester United. Kevin de Bruyne curled a ball into the middle where Fellaini towered over his marker to glance the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Game on!
74 minThis is a different game now. Belgium are well on top and pushing for a winner. Daniel van Buyten comes close to making it 2-1 after meeting the ball with his head from a corner, but he could only send it over the bar.
76 minFellaini's actually taken a position alongside Origi in attack. He's causing all kind of problems for the Algeria defence, who could be in for an eventful end to this game.
80 minWhat a turnaround in Belo Horizonte! Belgium are ahead after a stunning break-away goal. Eden Hazard led the charge from the halfway line, and despite enduring a difficult game, the Chelsea man showed his class by playing a wonderful ball to Dries Mertens on the far side of the pitch, who took one touch before firing the ball into the roof of the net from around 16 yards out. It's harsh on Algeria, but Belgium have netted a couple of excellent goals.
83 minSAVE! It's very nearly three! Belgium are playing some super football now, and after the ball was worked out to the right for Mertens, his cross into the box was headed on goal by Marouane Fellaini, but goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi was able to make an excellent intervention.
87 minAlgeria haven't offered anything in response to Belgium's late surge. At 1-1, it was evident that they were happy to take a point, but despite falling behind, they have failed to show any extra urgency on the ball.
90 minThere will be three minutes of added-on time.
90+2 minAs you would expect, Belgium aren't exactly in a rush to take any throw-ins or set pieces that come their way. They've managed to work the ball into the corner, and hold onto it for the best part of two minutes.
6.51pmThe full-time whistle has been blown in Belo Horizonte, and Belgium have managed to find a way to come through their first World Cup match in 12 years with a 2-1 victory. It wasn't pretty, but the introduction of Marouane Fellaini changed the game and Belgium deserved to come away with the three points.
6.54pmIt will be interesting to see how Belgium line up in their next match against Russia. Romelu Lukaku is regarded as the team's first-choice striker, but he was disappointing tonight and his team's performance improved when he was withdrawn shortly before the hour mark. However, that's a discussion for another day, and Belgium will be relieved to have three points on the board.
6.55pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us for what turned out to be a more competitive encounter than many of us imagined! Goodbye for now.