Story of the half: Algeria and Valencia striker Sofiane Feghouli said, “Belgium is not to be feared.” He followed it up by scoring the penalty that gave the Desert Foxes a 1-0 lead against heavy favorites Belgium.
The penalty came on a silly takedown by Jan Vertonghen, who fed into Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic’s assertion that Belgium defenders “are no Ferraris”.
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Goals (and how they happened):
23′ – Feghouli gets ahead of Jan Vertonghen, who pushes him to the turf before the Algerian can latch onto a great cross. Vertonghen sees yellow and Feghouli beats Courtois to put the underdogs in front.
Other key moments:
10′ – Belgium looks out of sorts, and can’t find a way through Algeria. The stubborn CAF side cannot punish the “dark horses” of the tournament, but a better team would’ve put them to the coals.
20′ – The first real shot of the match is an Axel Witsel shot that is punched away from Mbolhi.
25′ – Eden Hazard is dragged down for a Belgium free kick in a dangerous spot, but Kevin De Bruyne’s offering sails to no one. De Bruyne goes on to make several nice plays, but no finish.
44′ – Nacer Chadli is the recipient of some strong work from Eden Hazard, but the Tottenham hit his low shot right at Adi Mbolhi.
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen, Witsel, Dembele, De Bruyne, Hazard, Chadli, Lukaku
Algeria: Mbolhi, Bougherra (c), Ghoulam, Halliche, Feghouli, Medjani, Bentaleb, Soudani, Taider, Mahrez, Mostefa
Question for the second half:
- Can Belgium find its way through – Algeria was ready to play stingy, and the goal has upped their intensity and commitment to it. De Bruyne and Hazard have come close, but can they get through?