The FIFA World Cup Halftime And Postgame Thread For 6/22/14: After Algeria-South Korea (Multiple Versions)
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FT: Korea Republic 2-4 Algeria
As mentioned at halftime, Kim Young-Gwon and Hong Jeong-Ho reputations diminished massively today. Islam Slimani gave them constant problems, and when they needed Han Kook-Young to protect them, he could not on that sweet 4th goal from Yacine Brahimi.
A dream day for Valid Halilhodzic, as the tensions between him and the Algerian federation will subside for tonight. Concerns though will be how his captain Madjid Bougherra lost focus on Son's goal while his backline couldn't prevent Koo finishing the second.
Hong Myung-Bo will have to ponder major chances heading into a must win side against a Belgium team who will at least look to have one good performance before the knockout stage.
It's one thing to have Messi and company score a boatload of goals on them four years ago, but it is another to have a talented but decent at best Algerian side do the same.
(More to come with halftime of USA-Portugal)
Halftime Version of Korea Republic and Algeria
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Halftime: Algeria 3, Korea Republic 0
Before the tournament Marcello Lippi stated previously, over a year ago, that Kim Young-Gwon could play in a big UEFA Top 4-5 league club, including Manchester United. He may want to retract that statement after being apart of the worst centerback group display with Hong Jeong-Ho in the tournament.
Along with Jung Sung-Ryong latest mistake in net on Halliche's second header, the centerbacks were responsible for the goals in the first half and could easily lead to Korean being eliminated this tournament.
But Algeria set the tone by being aggressive from the start, and were rewarded with Slimani continuing off his fine year at Sporting Lisbon for the opener. Then the two centerbacks have been sensational with Halliche scoring the second goal and delivering the key long ball pass that lead to set up Djabou's third.
A dream on one end, a nightmare for the other.
FT: Belgium 1-0 Russia
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It was another struggle of a display for a much fancied side, as Eden Hazard woke up at the end of the match after a second straight disappointing effort. His effort set up Lille rising youngster Divock Origi for his first international goal and the game winner.
The key to that match deciding move was the start, as Kompany's strong tackle on Dzagoev set up the space required for Marc Wilmots' side to exploit. Hazard, after 80 awful minutes and lucky to not be subbed off for Kevin Mirallas (Dries Mertens was), showed the world class potential he can offer any minute by getting by Andrey Eschenko easily to set up Origi. Glushakov looked like he would monitor him for the remainder of the sequence, but got spooked by Hazard getting by Eschenko and allowed the 19-year the space he needed to secure the biggest goal in his fledgling life.
Another late match tally for a Belgium side not playing at their full capacity. At the center of that is Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. Despite Mertens' great individual moments in the first half, he didn't provide any service for the big forward. Axel Witsel's decent work in the midfield was mostly going to Mertens and it made Hazard constantly invisible.
It is up to Hazard (and Wilmots it needs to be added), to notice the wave of play not going to his side primarily and start moving over. His static play for the most part hurt Lukaku's chances to get service even more than Witsel outletting to Mertens or the Napoli man's inability to produce a telling pass.
On the other end, Fabio Capello's side had their chances with Kokorin blowing a header that should have made it 1-0. But that header comes back to Capello and his decision to still prefer Kokorin over Kerzhakov, the team's tailsman throughout qualifying. If Kerzhakov had that header in the first half then Russia would have lead. Instead, the Zenit forward only came on after Origi's goal when it was too late.
For a man getting paid an 8-figure salary (and being the highest paid manager in the tournament by far), Capello sure is producing single dollar stubbornness. Benching Kerzhakov, Dzagoev, and Igor Denisov so far has not produced standout results, and will be tested in the final match against Algeria in a likely must win for Russia.
(Halftime of Korea and Algeria to come).