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Fellaini impact: Players rated

THIBAUT COURTOIS - 6

Last Updated: 17/06/14 at 21:06 Post Comment

Courtois was a spectator for the majority against an Algeria side who were set up for a smash and grab. The goalkeeper, who will return to Chelsea following his long loan at Atletico Madrid after the World Cup, faced only one shot on target, which was the first-half penalty from which Sofiane Feghouli opened the scoring. Otherwise, Courtois touched the ball only 16 times. 

TOBY ALDERWEIRELD - 6

The problem with Belgium selecting four centre-backs across their back-line was that they had a lack of attacking options down the flank in their frustrating first half. Alderweireld, playing at right-back, failed to get forward enough on overlapping runs before half-time. However, he was clearly told to improve at the interval and finished the game with two successful dribbles, which was only less than Eden Hazard (five), and six crosses.

DANIEL VAN BUYTEN - 7

Van Buyten looked every day of his 36 years on a few occasions in the first half, particularly when he was caught in one-on-one situations with lone Algeria striker Soudani. However, the centre-back finished the game with a 100 per cent effective record from his 10 clearances and he was also the man to work the ball out of defence, playing more passes (87) than anyone else on the pitch. Van Buyten’s excellent tackle also allowed Belgium to break for substitute Dries Mertens' winner in this first game of Group H. 

VINCENT KOMPANY - 6

The Belgium and Manchester City captain could not have asked for a much more comfortable match. With Van Buyten’s experience taking on the majority of the defensive duties, Kompany looked relaxed throughout. This, combined with Algeria failing to press Belgium’s defenders, meant the two-time Premier League winner could cruise through the game.

JAN VERTONGHEN - 5

As with Alderweireld, Vertonghen did not look comfortable at full-back. Playing on the left flank, the Tottenham Hotspur defender was booked for committing the foul on Feghouli that allowed the Algerian to then convert from the spot. Vertonghen continued to struggle to get forward in the second half and only produced two crosses in the match, which was a factor in Belgium’s attacking struggles for the majority of the game. It would be a surprise if boss Marc Wilmots does not look at a change for Belgium’s next game against Russia on Sunday. 

AXEL WITSEL - 6

Witsel at least attempted to make something happen for his country in the first half and had a few pot shots from long range while his total of 47 passes before the break was more than any of his team-mates. Witsel ended the game having made four tackles, which was again more than any of his team-mates, but Wilmots will want the Zenit St Petersburg midfielder to use the ball more quickly to set Belgium on the attack in future.
    
MOUSA DEMBELE - 6

Before kick-off, it was difficult to decide whether Belgium were using Dembele in his best position. The Tottenham midfielder played as one of the two deep-sitting players in his country’s 4-2-3-1 formation and that meant he did not have as much opportunity to get forward. He was taken off to be replaced by equalising goal scorer Marouane Fellaini in the second half having played no through balls and managed just one shot, which was off target.

KEVIN DE BRUYNE - 6

De Bruyne did little for the majority of the game to convince those who have questioned whether he is the real deal in the playmaker role behind Romelu Lukaku. The 22-year-old rather drifted through the game and was a factor in Belgium playing too many sideways passes and not one single through ball. However, De Bruyne will largely be forgiven as it was his excellent cross which set up substitute Fellaini’s equalising header.

NACER CHADLI - 5

Chadli showed good strength in holding off opponents in the opening minutes but too often overran the ball and went off at half-time. A nice pass around the corner to De Bruyne in the later stages of the first half apart, Chadli failed to make an impact. The Tottenham man had three shots, of which two were on target, but they were from long range while he failed to give Lukaku enough service.

EDEN HAZARD - 7

Algeria obviously and understandably identified Hazard as Belgium’s main danger man. This meant the African side often doubled, or tripled, up on the Chelsea forward to deny him the time and space to cause too much damage. However, as Algeria tired and with the injection of substitutes Divock Origi and Mertens' pace and creativity causing distractions, Hazard came in to the game. The most successful dribbler in the 2013/14 Premier League completed five dribbles, more than any player, against Algeria and assisted Mertens’ winning goal. 

ROMELU LUKAKU - 5

Lukaku endured a miserable 58-minute outing before being replaced by teenager Origi. It was not completely Lukaku’s fault, as he found himself isolated and starved of service by his team-mates. In his time on the field, the lone striker had just 20 touches of the ball and not a single shot while he was also dispossessed on five occasions. 

SUBSTITUTES

Fellaini (eight rating) scored the equaliser with an excellent, flicked-on header in the 70th minute before Mertens (seven rating) smashed the winner 10 minutes later. Fellaini, pushed much further forward than the man he replaced – Dembele, caused Algeria constant problems with his aerial power. Likewise, Mertens proved a handful with his neat footwork and use of the ball while he also took over set-piece duties when he came on. Nineteen-year-old Origi (six rating), meanwhile, was a burst of raw pace which began to put Algeria on the back foot. The youngster, though, did show his inexperience when wasting one fine chance as he shot at the feet of Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi in a one-on-one situation.

What did you think of Fellaini's performance? Did Belgium live up to their billing as dark horses? Have your say below and then rate the players in Belgium's 2-1 win over Algeria at the World Cup.

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