Belgium beats Algeria
Dark horses Belgium bounced back from a goal down to beat Algeria 2-1 on the sixth day
Fortaleza (Brazil): Hosts and World Cup favorites Brazil were on Tuesday left to wait for their knock-out round qualification with a stubborn Mexico holding them to a goal-less draw while dark horses Belgium bounced back from a goal down to beat Algeria 2-1 on the sixth day.
Brazil would have booked a round of 16 berth had they beaten Mexico but little known goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa produced at least two stunning saves in a heroic display to deny the Selecao a win in a high-voltage Group A clash here.
The 28-year-old Ochoa, who plays in France for AC Ajaccio, first thwarted Neymar’s 26th minute header with a spectacular dive to his right and then blocked Thiago Silva’s headed attempt in the 87th minute to the huge groan of the sea of yellow-clad Selecao fans.
Superstar Neymar, who scored two goals in Brazil’s 3-1 opening match win against Croatia, had plenty of the ball and made some threatening runs into the rival box under hot and humid conditions at Estadio Castelao.
But ultimately, the five-time champions failed to break down the stubborn Mexican defence and the seemingly impenetrable wall thrown around their goal by Ochoa. Mexico survived the grinding offence from Brazil and frustrated the hosts’ march to the second round.
After today’s draw, Brazil and Mexico occupy to top spot in Group A on four points each. The group, which also has Croatia and Cameroon as other teams, is now wide open.
In a Group H match in Belo Horizonte, Belgium made a stunning rally to beat Algeria 2-1 with two second half goals.
Widely billed dark horse to lift the trophy, Belgium had to toil hard to erase the 0-1 deficit after Algeria had taken a surprise lead in the 25th minute against the run of play through a penalty kick conversion by Sofiane Feghouli.
Belgium, whose most of players ply trade in top European clubs, turned the match on its head with two goals in the space of 10 minutes.
Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini equalized in the 70th minute through a glancing header before substitute Dries Mertens made a fierce finish with a low shot for the winning goal in the 80th minute.