SPORT

Belgium 2-1 Algeria: Marouane Fellaini Inspires World Cup Comeback

17/06/2014 18:50 BST | Updated 17/06/2014 19:59 BST
MARTIN BUREAU via Getty Images
Belgium's midfielder Marouane Fellaini celebrates after scoring during a Group H football match between Belgium and Algeria at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens struck to spare Belgium a World Cup embarrassment against Algeria in Group H.

Jan Vertonghen's clumsy foul gifted the minnows a 24th minute penalty Sofiane Feghouli converted, however three second-half changes galvanised the tournament's dark horses

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots was forced to atone for a curious-looking starting XI, as Vertonghen started at left-back to accommodate the ageing Daniel van Buyten in central defence, while Premier League strugglers Nacer Chadli and Kevin de Bruyne did not compensate for the absent Kevin Mirallas' pace.

Mirallas was overlooked, though, as Wilmots introduced Dries Mertens for the hopeless Chadli at half-time, while 19-year-old Divock Origi replaced Romelu Lukaku shortly after the restart and should have levelled when he drilled the ball straight at goalkeeper Raïs M'Bohli.

Moments later, though, De Bruyne finally effected the game when he was given an age to deliver an inswinging cross that Fellaini flicked in for his first goal since 28 August. The time he was afforded highlighted how fatigued the Algerians were, and 10 minutes later Eden Hazard played in quicksilver Mertens to thump in the winner.

Belgium v Algeria