Rio de Janeiro: Young forward Divock Origi vindicated his coach Mark Wilmots' decision to introduce him in the second half as his opportunistic strike in the 88th minute helped Belgium defeat a gutsy Russian team 1-0 making it to the final 16 of the World Cup here today.
It was a match dominated by Fabio Capello coached Russian team but when it mattered, the Belgians came up trumps. Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard sprinted down the left beating right-back Andrey Yeschenko before providing a perfect pull-back for Origi who smashed it home from the close range.
Credit for the strike should go to Hazard, whose sprint on the counter caught the Russian defence napping as they were on ascendancy for the better part of the second half.
Belgium with six points from two matches have booked their berth into the second round while Russia will now have to beat Algeria in their last game and hope that other results go in their favour.
Belgium, a semi-finalist in the 1986 edition have never made it to the knock-out rounds since 1990 edition. With their finest collection of players in the last three decades, Vincent Kompany and his men are ready to give a tough time to the other oppositions.
But if Russians didn't break the deadlock, only they were to be blamed.
Forward Alexander Korkorin missed one of the easiest chances in the championship in the 44th minute when he got a free-header with left back Dmitry Kombarov providing a measured cross from the left.
Korkorin did the hard work of evading Vincent Kompany but headed wide off the target when he had Belgian custodian Courtois at his mercy.