RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: Thibaut Courtois of Belgium acknowledges the crowd after defeating Russia 1-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana on June 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Game(s) on: Belgium looks to close out Group H, Algeria hoping to advance

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One-goal wins in the team’s first two games have the Belgians into the second round, but with a point against South Korea today in São Paulo, the Red Devisl clinch first place in the 2014 World Cup’s Group H, thereby avoiding Germany in the tournament’s second round.

It’s one of two matches that will take place at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, with a 2010 rematch between Russia head coach Fabio Capello and second place Algeria kicking off at the same time in Curiabá. With all four teams still alive, here’s what each needs to happen to make the second round:

  • Belgium is into the second round can can secure first place with a win, draw, or an Algeria loss or draw.
  • Algeria takes second with a win or draw and can take first with a win and a Belgium loss.
  • Russia needs a win over Algeria and a Belgium result against South Korea (or, just to stay on the right side of the tiebreakers with the Koreans).
  • South Korea to (a.) beat Belgium by more than the Russians beat Algeria, or, if Algeria draws, (b.) beat Belgium by three. If Algeria wins, South Korea’s done.

[ MORE Soccerly: Follow South Korea vs. Belgium | Algeria vs. Russia ]

Here are the lineups for the last games of the 2014 group stage:


South Korea: S.G. Kim; Y. Lee, Hong, Y.G. Kim, Yun; Han, Ki; C.Y. Lee, Koo, Son; S.W. Kim

Belgium: Courtois; Vanden Boore, Lombaerts, Van Buyten, Vertonghen; Fellaini, Dembélé; Mirallas, Januzaj, Defour, Mertens

Expectation: Despite failing to meet expectations during their first two games, the Red Devils are seen as big favorites in this one. There’s a reason why U.S. fans are already saying, “Give us Belgium.”

One blogger’s prediction: South Korea’s defense looks better than it did against Algeria, but Belgium begins finding its World Cup legs and posts an easy victory. 3-1, Red Devils.


Algeria: Rais; Mandi, Belkalem, Halliche, Mesbah, Bentaleb, Medjani; Feghouli, Brahimi, Djabou; Slimani

Russia: Akinfeev; Kozlov, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Kombarov; Glushakov, Fayzulin; Samedov, Shatov, Kokorin; Kerzhakov

Expectations: Before the tournament, Algeria was seen as the group formats while Russia was expected to go through behind Belgium. Now, perceptions ave flipped. Algeria has captured hearts, while Fabio Capello’s style has made Russia difficult to enjoy.

One blogger’s prediction: Russia’s methods define the match, but they can’t produce a result. The ghosts of 2010 cheer as a 0-0 puts Algeria into the second round.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
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Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.