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Tuesday 23 September K.O. 19:45

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World Cup Diary

World Cup Diary

What happened last night?


There was mixed emotions for the Evertonians in action on day 11 of the 2014 World Cup.

In the first of the three games, Kevin Mirallas made an immediate impact in his 15-minute cameo, helping Belgium spring to life and grasp a late 1-0 win over Russia.

The winger struck the post with a free-kick and saw an injury-time effort saved, but it was his added threat from the bench that lifted the Red Devils in the closing stages as Eden Hazard supplied Divock Origi for the winner.

The 19-year-old goalscorer had replaced Romelu Lukaku who endured a second forgettable game in the competition - and the result means Mirallas and co. are now through to the knockout stage with a game left to play.

The same cannot be said for fellow Blue Tim Howard, however.

A memorable victory over Portugal looked in the bag as the injury-time seconds ticked down, with the three points being enough to guarantee the United States' place in the Round of 16.

But substitute Varela's header in the dying moments means that Jurgen Klinsmann's men must now wait until the final group game against Germany.

Manchester United winger Nani put the Portuguese ahead inside five minutes before Jermaine Jones' rasping strike and Clint Dempsey's close-range finish turned the tie around.

Howard was in commanding form between the sticks but could do nothing about Varela's last-gasp leveller.

In the other game, Algeria sprung an impressive performance upon South Korea with a 4-2 win to put themselves second in Group H behind Belgium.

Who caught the eye?

Origi will be his nation's hero after turning a rather dull Belgian performance into a late victory with his thumping finish past Igor Akinfeev.

Mirallas' cameo also caused Chelsea's Hazard to come to life, but the Red Devils will be hoping for much-improved displays come the knockout stages.

Islam Slimani was an addition to the Algerian side and took his opportunity with both hands, netting his side's second and picking up the Man of the Match award for his constant troubling of the South Korean backline.

What’s happening today?

With four games on offer, quite a lot.

Groups A and B host their final fixtures - kicking off at 5pm BST and 9pm BST respectively.

In the former, Brazil face Cameroon while Mexico take on Croatia with both qualification berths up for grabs.

Group B has already been decided, with the Netherlands and Chile through and Spain and Australia booked on their flights home.

Tim Cahill's campaign and perhaps last World Cup is over as his suspension means he will sit out the clash against the Spanish.

Who should I be looking out for today?

The Dutch and Chileans could rotate their sides in preparation for the knockout stages so we may see a few new faces.

The Croatians have been impressive with Real Madrid's Luka Modric at the heart of things and Ivica Olic and Mario Mandzukic among the goals up front.

For Mexico, Andres Guardado has a stunning 106 caps at the age of 27 and his experience in big games for Deportivo and Valenica will be telling as his country look to pip Brazil and Croatia for a place in the next round.

 

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