Live Commentary: Belgium 1-0 Russia - as it happened
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the World Cup match between Belgium and Russia.
By Darren Plant, Reporter Filed: Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 16:00 UK
Last Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014 at 18:56 UK
An 88th-minute strike from Divork Origi has earned Belgium a 1-0 victory over Russia at the Maracana.
After a disappointing game where chances were few and far between, Origi fired the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards after Eden Hazard had worked his way to the byline.
The result sees Belgium move through to the second round with a game to spare, but they could have to avoid defeat in their final fixture to make sure of first place in Group H.
Read below to see how the action unfolded in Rio de Janeiro.
4.01pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the match between Belgium and Russia at the World Cup finals.
4.04pmHere we are again for the 30th match of the World Cup finals - it's flown by hasn't it! Today's match sees Belgium - many people's dark horses for the tournament - try to make it back-to-back victories in Group H against their European counterparts Russia, who, ideally, need to avoid defeat to ensure that they retain a good chance of making the last 16.
4.06pmThe team news is in from the Maracana, and as there are plenty of talking points where Belgium are concerned, we better crack on!
4.09pmBELGIUM XI: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vermaelen; Witsel, Fellaini; De Bruyne, Hazard, Mertens; Lukaku
4.13pmFirst of all, let's take you through the Belgium team. Coach Marc Wilmots has made three changes to the team that struggled past Algeria on Tuesday. Midfield duo Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens come into the side after scoring in the final 20 minutes against Algeria, while Thomas Vermaelen is preferred to Jan Vertonghen on the left-hand side of defence.
4.15pmStaying with Belgium for a minute, they had concerns over the fitness of skipper Vincent Kompany who was said to be suffering from a mild groin strain, but the Manchester City defender takes his place in the starting lineup.
4.19pmAs for Russia, Fabio Capello has opted to keep Aleksandr Kerzhakov on the substitutes' bench, despite his goal against South Korea. Former Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov joins him on the sidelines after an ineffective showing five days ago.
4.22pmStraight after this match, the other teams in this group - Algeria and South Korea - will face each other to try to record their first win of the tournament. It's difficult to predict what result that they will both we hoping for from this match - probably anything but a Russia win! As always, you can follow all the action live with Sports Mole.
4.26pmBoth Marc Wilmots and Fabio Capello had selection dilemmas coming into this match after below-par performances from key men. Striker Romelu Lukaku endured a frustrating 57 minutes against Algeria before being hauled off to watch on as his team overturned their deficit. As for Russia, Capello witnessed goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev make a complete hash of dealing with a routine shot against South Korea to allow the Asian outfit to take the lead. However, both men have retained their spots in their respective lineups.
4.30pmInterestingly, two members of Belgium's squad have called for Eden Hazardto be protected from any heavy-handed tactics from Russia in today's encounter. Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen both felt that the Chelsea winger was unfairly treated in the last game against Algeria - I can't say that I agree with them!
4.34pmWith less than 30 minutes to go until kickoff in Rio de Janeiro, I'm going to take the opportunity to give our World Cup section a plug. If you haven't taken a look before, it's pretty darn good. We have comprehensive coverage of all 32 teams in Brazil, including England - but that section could be used less frequently after Tuesday evening...
4.38pmThe Maracana is a stunning place to play football, isn't it? It doesn't look full right now, but expect the stadium to be a sea of red and white in 20 minutes time.
4.42pmPREDICTION! Belgium are favourites for this match, but it's a close one to call. Russia will be out to frustrate their opponents, and for a time, they will probably succeed, but Belgium's side is packed with quality, and with the added motivation of needing to improve from their last performance, I expect them to do enough to register the three points. 2-1 to Belgium.
4.47pmToday's match is the fifth time that these two teams have met at a World Cup. The last meeting came in South Korea and Japan back in 2002, with Belgium prevailing 3-2 in the group stages. I think that we will be lucky to see as many goals today though, it will probably be more of a tactical affair, plus I have a reputation of ensuring that goals are kept to a minimum in the games that I cover! Enjoy...
4.52pmThe two teams are beginning to emerge from the changing rooms. There must be a few nerves among both sets of players. Playing in the World Cup is a big occasion in itself, but having the chance to play at the Maracana just makes it that little bit more memorable.
4.56pmThere are plenty of Russians in Rio - well, a lot more than I was expecting!
1 minBelgium get us underway in glorious conditions in Rio.
2 minStraight away, Belgium signal their intent to make a fast start by immediately forcing a corner after some good work from Dries Mertens. The ball into the box is a decent one, but it's cleared by Aleksandr Samedov, who takes a nasty whack to the head for his troubles.
5 minThe pace of Mertens is causing Russia all kinds of trouble. He gets in behind the defence, but his shot is well blocked by a retreating defender. This looks a different Belgium side to the one that started against Algeria.
8 minApart from one break-away, Russia have barely had a kick during the opening stages. They are doing a lot of chasing, which isn't ideal in such conditions. Toby Alderweireld is lucky to avoid a yellow card for a high foot in the centre circle.
12 minSHOT! When Russia do manage to win possession, they look very quick down the left and it nearly brings them a goal. The ball is eventually worked inside for Viktor Fayzulin, who takes a touch to his left before drawing a solid stop out of Thibaut Courtois from the edge of the area.
13 minMoments later, Belgium break at pace through Kevin de Bruyne, who shows excellent skill and awareness to find Dries Mertens, but instead of shooting, the winger decided to try to square the ball to Romelu Lukaku, but his cross was well intercepted.
17 minToby Alderweireld makes good progress down the right before cutting inside onto his left foot. However, his delivery into the box has too much power on it and the ball drifts over the heads of Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini.
20 minSHOT! Dries Mertens displays his pace once again in driving towards the Russia defence, but after reaching the edge of the penalty area, his driven strike misses the near post by a couple of yards. He should have at least hit the target.
22 minSHOT! The Napoli winger repeats the feat two minutes later but again, he fails to hit the target after making an angle for himself. In all fairness, that attempt was tougher than the first, but still, he should have brought a save out of Igor Akinfeev.
25 minKevin de Bruyne's range of passing has been faultless so far, and he manages to find Mertens with a sweeping ball to the right. The winger manages to win a corner after being tackled by a Russian defender, but the set piece comes to nothing.
29 minRussia finally get hold of the ball in an attempt to slow the pace of the game. So far, they've struggled to cope with the speed in which Belgium are moving the ball from defence to attack. I imagine Belgium are happy to take a breather anyway - they've been relentless.
31 minSUBSTITUTION! What's happened here then? Thomas Vermaelen is being replaced by Jan Vertonghen. It must be due to an injury, although it wasn't noticeable.
35 minOleg Shatov decides to take the direct route towards the Belgium defence, but despite creating himself a decent opening from 25 yards out. his shot is tame and easily held by Thibaut Courtois.
38 minBOOKING! Russia's Denis Glushakov is the first man to go into the referee's notebook after raising his boot to challenge Dries Mertens. He didn't make a whole lot of contact with the winger, but he made none at all with the ball.
41 minRussia win a corner after Toby Alderweireld is forced to head the ball behind, but the following set piece comes to nothing after the referee adjudges that Thibaut Courtois was fouled. There didn't look much contact to me.
42 minSHOT! Viktor Fayzulin makes a beautiful connection with a volley on the edge of the area, but the ball is never threatening the goal.
43 minCHANCE! Aleksandr Kokorin misses an absolute sitter for Russia! Denis Glushakov whipped in a tremendous ball from the left that found Kokorin in between Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen, but the forward could only head the ball wide from six yards.
5.48pmThe referee blows the half-time whistle at the Marcana and it remains goalless between Belgium and Russia. Belgium had the better of the opening 20 minutes, but slowly but surely, Russia have eased themselves back into the match and they should be ahead at the break.
5.52pmFor all their pressure in the first half of the opening period, Belgium didn't manage to get one shot on target. They have had 53% of the ball, but before the teams went off for half time, they were very much second best. Marc Wilmots has some work to do at the break.
5.58pmI imagine that Marc Wilmots would have been keen for his side to secure qualification for the second round this afternoon, but as it stands, they will still have work to do in their last game with South Korea. If Russia can't force a win today, they will need to win their final fixture with Algeria to make the last 16.
48 minDries Mertens starts in the same fashion that he did in the first half by crossing a sublime ball into the box for Romelu Lukaku, but the Chelsea man was slow in reacting to the pass. He's been very disappointing.
50 minAlex Witsel and Denis Glushakov both hit the deck after a clash of shoulders when competing for a high ball. Both men require treatment, but for whatever reason, the referee delays his decision to wave the each physio onto the pitch.
53 minSHOT! That's very ambitious from Denis Glushakov. He collected a cross at the back post before trying to slice a volley over Thibaut Courtois from an acute angle, but his shot went over,
54 minBOOKING! Alex Witsel is cautioned for a blatant tug on the shirt of Oleg Shatov. The referee had little choice but to book the Zenit St Petersburg player.
57 minSUBSTITUTION! Romelu Lukaku lasted 57 minutes against Algeria and he's lasted 57 minutes in this match too. Divork Origi has been introduced.
60 minMany have criticised Jose Mourinho's reluctance to give Romelu Lukaku a chance at Stamford Bridge, but when you see the striker deliver two hugely disappointing performances in the space of a week, you can begin to understand his thinking.
62 minSUBSTITUTION! Fabio Capello makes his first change of the match, bringing on Andrey Yeshchenko for Aleksei Kozlov
66 minRussia are looking the sharper of the two teams at the moment and have the Belgians pushed back in their own half. However, chances at the moment are a rare occurrence and it's developing into a drab affair.
70 minThere are a few boos beginning to ring out at the Maracana. I did warn you at the start of the game that goals and my commentaries don't go together...
73 minEden Hazard is penalised for a flailing arm on Aleksandr Samedov, but it looked a little harsh to me. The resulting free kick was headed over by Sergei Ignashevich, who is winning his 100th cap tonight.
75 minSUBSTITUTION! Dries Mertens was lively in the first half, but he has been non-existent after the break and he has been replaced by Kevin Mirallas.
78 minEden Hazard does well on the edge of the area before passing to Divork Origi. The striker turns sharply to try to get a shot on target, but his powerful strike is blocked by the defender.
81 minCHANCE! That's better! Russia manoeuvre the ball to the right-hand side where Andrey Yeshchenko is in acres of space but his first-time drive misses the far post by a couple of yards. Alan Dzagoev is being readied by Russia.
84 minWOODWORK! Belgium win a free kick from 25 yards out after a handball by Maksim Kanunnikov. It's in a perfect place for a strike on goal, and that's what Kevin Mirallas does, hitting the woodwork with Igor Akinfeev well beaten!
88 minWe have a goal! Belgium take the lead through Divork Origi but all of the credit has to go to Eden Hazard. The Chelsea playmaker weaved his way past a couple of players before pulling the ball back for Origi, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards for his first international goal.
90 minThere will be three minutes of added-on time. The Belgium supporters are going wild! To be fair, they probably have bundles of energy left after having to sit through this.
90+2 minCHANCE! Eden Hazard has come alive in these last few minutes! After playing a one-two with Origi, he slid the ball across to Kevin Mirallas on the right of the penalty area, but the Everton man's shot was straight at Igor Akinfeev.
6.52pmBelgium secure their place in the last 16 of the World Cup after Divork Origi's goal two minutes from time earns them a 1-0 win over Russia. After a quiet 80 minutes, Belgium improved considerably during the closing stages and they just about deserved the three points.
6.55pmThat result has ensured Belgium a place in the second round, but they could still need to avoid defeat in their last game if they are to guarantee top spot if South Korea or Algeria win later this evening.
6.56pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening, and we hope that you stick around for South Korea and Algeria with our coverage starting in just a few minutes. Goodbye for now.