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Belgium, a 'Dark Horse' and underdog-favorite of its match, come back in their second half to defeat Algeria. Russia and South Korea draw to close the first round of the group competition. In a surprise, but glorious draw, Mexico and Brazil start the second round of group play.
Group H: Belgium v Algeria, 2-1
Touted as the ‘dark horse’ of the competition, Belgium didn’t seem to live up to the hype, going down 1-0 at the half after Algeria scored at the 25th minute. At the half Dries Mertens came on as a sub and by the 65th Belgium used their other two substitutions with 19 year old Origi and Manchester United’s rising star Marouane Fellaini. The latter gave inspiration and scored the equalizer at the 70th, and Mertens scored the game winner at the 80th.
Group A: Brazil v Mexico, 0-0
Sometimes the most exciting game, as with Brazil and Mexico, ends in a draw. As HITC notes, this was the 39th time the two have played each other, and with 22 wins, Brazil seemed the favorite, but Mexico came out attacking Brazil, knowing how crucial these 3 points would be.
Mexico’s goalie Guillermo Ochoa was a shining star, stopping a record five attempts on goal, which with a lesser goalie, would have all gone through. Although El Tri and the home nation are now at four points each, either team could end up at the top of the group.
Group H: Russia v South Korea, 1-1
Though mostly tame as far as matches of the day, Russia, who will host the 2018 World Cup, in all fairness, should have won this game if it wasn’t for a butter-fingers goalkeeper who let the ball slip by in the 68th minute.
Though short-lived, as the New York Times notes, with Russian sub Alan Dzagoev coming on the pitch and drilling one at close range in the 74th, giving the equalizer, and final goal of the night.
On June 18, the schedule includes all four teams from Group B - Australia v Netherlands and Spain v Chile - and the bottom two of Group A - Cameroon v Croatia.