MOSCOW, June 22 /ITAR-TASS/. With less than two weeks into the one-month sprint of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Russian national squad stands small chances of leaving the group stage and advancing to the round of the Last 16 after losing 0-1 to Belgium on Sunday night.
The scoreless marshy match at the Estadio Do Maracana arena in Rio de Janeiro exploded with the first and the only goal with two minutes remaining before the final whistle, when Belgium’s Divock Origi burnt the net behind Russia’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev.
Origi, 19, became the youngest player to score at this World Cup, which runs between June 12 and July 13.
The two old-time rivals have many things in common before tonight’s match as both Russia and Belgium missed out of the two previous global football tournaments in 2010 and 2006 and were eager to put up their best performance.
Belgium is now solidly in the top of its Group H, shared besides Russia with teams from South Korea and Algeria, following today’s victory over the Russians and the previously secured victory of 2-1 over the Algerians at their opener last week. Russia played South Korea last week to end the match with 1-1 draw.
In another Group H encounter on Sunday night South Korea takes on Algeria at the Estadio Beira-Rio arena in Porto Alegre with the match scheduled to kick off at 4:00 p.m. local time (19:00 GMT).
Being rumored to be the highest paid national coach in the world, Italian phenomenon Fabio Capello managed to help the Russian national team to qualify for the current World Cup in Brazil. He celebrated his 68th birthday during the Russia vs. South Korea match last Tuesday.
On the eve of the Russian team’s match against South Korea, the Russian state-run pollster VTsIOM provided data showing that 25% of Russians believed that the country’s national football team would battle through to the final match of the 2014 World Cup. Seven percent said the team would fail to clear the group stage.
The majority of the opinions expressed in the poll turn out to be wrong so far for the Russian national squad.