Brazil 2014 World Cup | Belgium vs. Russia

Sorry about the delay, I’ve just had something to eat, but now, I’m back, and will continually update this blog feed with quotes from football commentators during the second half of today’s match.

Belgium 1-0 Russia



Danny Mills (BBC Radio 5 Live): “Belgium are incredibly fortunate not to be a goal down at half time. They have controlled possession but Alexander Kokorin should have put Russia ahead. Marc Wilmots the Belgium manager will have to make changes at half-time, as he did against Algeria. I’d be tempted to take off Eden Hazard, or tell him you’ve got 10 minutes to buck your ideas up. He looks disinterested, as he did in the first game. Belgium have had so much possession but they are yet to really test the goalkeeper. It will be interesting to see what Fabio Capello does at half-time too, because if Russia get the ball forward there is no reason why they can’t cause problems. Although they have been on the back foot they have actually had the better chances to nick a goal in this game.”

Former England Captain Alan Shearer: “I’ve been disappointed in Belgium. They haven’t offered a lot going forward and they’ve been poor defensively. Alexander Kokorin missed a sitter before half-time. It was a peach of a chance and he had to score. It was a great ball and he had to bury it.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Steven Groves: Belgium look like a collection of individuals shoehorned into a team. No balance. Remind you of anyone?

Dmitry Kosarev: Kokorin should have put that into the back of net. But I ask you, where are the big chances for Belgium?

A: What do Kevin Mirallas and Adnan Januzaj need to do to get a game for Belgium? Dries Mertens looks flashy but no end product.

Former France and Arsenal Striker Thierry Henry: “It is difficult to call at the moment. You don’t really know who has been playing well or who has been playing badly. We almost have to forget the first half. Belgium’s Dries Mertens has been the spark of the game at the moment.”

Former Dutch Midfielder Clarence Seedorf, Match of the Day Analyst: “It was definitely a penalty for Russia. I don’t know what the referee’s have been looking at in the last few games. It would have been good for the game because we need a goal.”

Alan Shearer: “It’s a tough role Romelu Lukaku‘s playing, up front on his own. It’s tough at any age, nevermind 21, but he should be in the box. If he wants to get his goalscoring record up, he has to improve. If he doesn’t get in there he’s not going to score goals.”

Former England Defender Martin Keown: “It’s been disappointing from Belgium. I’d like to see some shorter passing from them, it’s all very back to front. Good individual players will take you so far but you need organisation from the manager. Romelu Lukaku doesn’t know where the space is.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Some Body: Players’ individual quality in the Premier League seems to be inversely proportional to their quality at the World Cup.

Adam O’Neill: From what I’ve seen of Belgium so far in this World Cup I would hardly class them as one of the favourites.

Jordan R Wood: Star-studded Belgium provokes thoughts of England’s ‘golden era’ of 2006. Lots of individual talent but can’t play together.


Thierry Henry: “It has been a great tournament, as long as you see amazing goals, great movement and surprises, it has been amazing. The second halves are usually better and hopefully we will see that today.”

Michael Emons: “No changes from either coach at half-time and we are back under way at the Maracana. Who, if anyone, is going to get the three points? Let’s find out.”

Martin Keown: “Let’s be positive, surely things will get better. There is some good quality out there and now they just have to show it.”

Michael Emons: “The photographers have spotted some royalty enjoying the match at the Maracana. Queen Mathilde of Belgium talks with Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders (pictured right) as King Philippe of Belgium looks on.”

Credit: BBC Sport

Martin Keown: “Romelu Lukaku looks as though he is half asleep, surely he is going to wake up? He has the necessary tools to be a real force but he has to use it and have the right desire. He is still only a baby though.”

Michael Emons: “Neither side have created much at the start of the second half. But Belgium will be far happier with a point than the Russians will be if it stays like this. Belgium would have four points from two games, with Russia having two draws. They would need to then beat Algeria on Thursday to stay in the competition. Belgium’s Axel Witsel is shown a yellow card for bringing down Russia’s Oleg Shatov. It is more clumsy than nasty, but that does not matter and the midfielder is in the book. It has been a disappointing World Cup for Romelu Lukaku. He was subbed in the first game and only lasts 56 minutes of this one. He is hooked by Marc Wilmots with 19-year-old Divock Origi of French side Lille coming on. Lukaku then sits there shaking his head on the bench, clearly less than amused with the decision.”

Group H
Credit: BBC Sport
Credit: BBC Sport

Martin Keown: “Romelu Lukaku is an angry man about being substituted. It is a shame he didn’t show that anger on the pitch. The Belgium manager is a decisive man. If it isn’t working, he makes a change.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Jack Kennedy: Commentary absolutely slating Romelu Lukaku! Give the guy a break, it’s his first World Cup and he’s 21!

Jan-Ove: Six national sides argued about whom Adnan Januzaj should represent. He chose Belgium, but they keep him on the bench. Why?!

Mark Egan: Belgium dark horses? More like a cure for insomnia.

Danny Mills: “No surprise Marc Wilmots has decided to make a change for Belgium, Russia have been the more positive side since the start of the second half. Fabio Capello, the Russia manager, will have been looking to take a point but now he will think they could take all three.”

Michael Emons: “It is now Fabio Capello’s time to make a change, bringing on Anzhi Makhachkala’s Andrey Eshchenko for Aleksei Kozlov. Will he be the inspiration? Well, considering he normally plays left-back, probably not, but you never know. England goalkeeper John Ruddy, who was left out of Roy Hodgson’s squad, says on Twitter: Hate seeing players giving the manager a mouthful when coming off. Show some respect and sit down.”

Danny Mills: “The game is very flat at the moment and there is not much to say about it. It is like an end-of-season game which is a surprise because if either country win it sets you up massively to get into the next round.”

Michael Emons: “The Maracana is one of the best stadiums in the world. It has hosted some great games. This is not of them. The locals show their displeasure at a misplaced pass. Just like watching Brazil? More like watching England at the moment.”

Credit: BBC Sport

Martin Keown: “We have hardly seen Dries Mertens in the second half. Belgium just don’t seem to be able to play as team. It is about being a collective, not individuals. They do nothing as team to win the ball back. They need to up the tempo as well.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Pete Whalen: Very poor performance by Belgium, no movement off the ball to support whoever is on the ball, all individualists.

Danny Mills: “I’m really surprised by the lack of action on the Belgium substitutes’ bench. There a couple of Belgium players warming up, one of which is Adnan Januzaj. He has been jogging around but whether or not he will actually come on I’m not sure. Belgium just need a spark to get them going. It’s lethargic. A lot of the players out there look a little bit lazy for whatever reason. Dries Mertens, who was Belgium’s best player going forward in the first half, has been very quiet. The fans are starting to get a little restless and there are a few jeers going around when mistakes are made. Marc Wilmots has to change something because Belgium’s performance is abject.”

Adnan Januzaj
Credit: BBC Sport and Danny Mills

Michael Emons: “Another half-chance for Russia but Sergey Ignashevich steers an effort well over the top of Thibaut Coutois’s crossbar. That inspires Denis Glushakov, who also fires miles off target. Dries Mertens was the best player in the first half, but has done nothing in the second. He will not do anything else either. He is substituted, with Everton winger Kevin Mirallas coming on.”

Martin Keown: “Russia are growing in confidence. Belgium need to change the tactics and push the team right up the pitch.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Matt from Potters Bar on text: Never thought I’d say this but bring on Algeria v South Korea.

Danny Mills: “I cannot believe Marc Wilmots has taken off Dries Mertens. Wilmots was very positive in the game against Algeria – he made three substitutions and changed the game, but here he is just letting this match peter out. I would have been tempted to sacrifice Eden Hazard, he has done absolutely nothing. Belgium need an injection of pace, you just want them to start trying to find a through ball behind the Russia defence. Russia are looking the better side.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

VB: Eden Hazard staying on is like Steven Gerrard staying on. Zero reason to keep him on the pitch apart from past glories/name value.

Matthew Harris: Come on, people, this is the Maracana! You are letting the stadium itself down! Play some damn football!

John Dunthorne One of the worst games so far. Fabio Capello has Russia playing like England in 2010, maybe all Roy Hodgson’s critics would prefer this. 

Nicholas Lee: The Russian goalkeeper had a nightmare last game, he could have brought his deckchair to this one.

Gareth: You’ve got to hand it to Fabio Capello, he knows how to make football spectators wish they were doing anything else.

Amy-Beth: Russia and Belgium letting the tournament down!

Michael Emons: “A few players are going down with cramp, which is surprising as it has not exactly been played at 100 miles per hour. Few chances from either side, but it is Russia who need the three points more urgently than Belgium. Germany are likely to face the Group H runners-up. They will not exactly be scared of that on this showing from the supposed two strongest teams in the group. I mentioned substitute Andrey Eshchenko is unlikely to provide the inspiration, but the full-back should put Russia ahead. He is found on the corner of the penalty area but drags his effort horribly wide when he should at least test Thibaut Courtois.

Martin Keown: “That is a chance. It is not a bad run but Andrey Eshchenko should be hitting the target. Alarm bells will be ringing in the Belgium defence though.”

Michael Emons: “Kevin Mirallas has only just come on but comes closest to a goal. His low strike from a 25-yard free-kick bounces off the foot of the Russian post. Unlucky.”

Credit: BBC Sport

Martin Keown: “Kevin Mirallas has only been on the pitch a matter of minutes and he was nearly the hero. He whips the ball across the wall and he is unlucky. Maybe that is start of better things of Belgium.”

Mo from Manchester on text: This Belgium manager is clueless. There is no flow in midfield and nothing is being produced for the striker, so substituting your striker doesn’t make any sense.

Danny Mills: “Really unlucky from Kevin Mirallas, the Russia goalkeeper looked to have lined his wall up on the wrong side almost, I’m not sure how Mirallas’s shot came through. But boos and jeers have been ringing around the stadium, the fans have been really let down by this game. What a fantastic venue, in the centre of Rio, overlooked by Christ the Redeemer, but he would be completely disinterest in this game. Finally Belgium have tried something a little different in pushing up Marouane Fellaini towards the box, but maybe it is too little too late. I cannot understand why Belgium have not gone out to win this game because Russia have just been sitting back.”

Martin Keown: “Looking at the positions he is taking today, Marouane Fellaini is doing no better than he does for Manchester United. He has to get involved in the build-up more. The ball to Fellaini seems to be their weapon.”

Michael Emons: “Eden Hazard has taken some criticism throughout this match as he has struggled to get involved. But the Chelsea playmaker finally shows his class with five minutes to go. He jinks on the edge of the penalty area to find some space. However, the goal-bound shot bounces off a defender for a corner. Marouane Fellaini heads over from the set-piece.”


Martin Keown: “Beautiful strike in the end. Divock Origi just set himself and was waiting to pull the trigger.”

Michael Emons: “It has not been pretty, but Belgium are heading into the last 16 as it stands.”

Danny Mills: “The first time anyone has gone in behind the Russia defence, Eden Hazard, got to the bye-line and cut it back for Divock Origi to fire into the roof of the net. It is unbelievable that it has taken this long for Belgium to have a decent strike on goal. Finally we have something to talk about. On the balance of play Belgium do not deserve it, but Marc Wilmots will say we have six points from two games, we are growing into this tournament. But they have been poor. They will not go far.”

Martin Keown: “It would be a good win for Belgium but not a fantastic performance. They still have a lot of work to do.”




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