Belgium’s fate isn’t in their own hands after they dominated this afternoon’s Group B game in Salvador, but slumped to a 4-1 defeat by South Korea who qualified for the last sixteen.
Belgium mustered 13 shots on target but could only find the back of the net once, compared to the ruthlessness of their opponents who scored four times from their five attempts on target.
Belgium started brightly, with Eden Hazard twice testing Jung Sung-Ryong with a pair of fierce drives from the edge of the box in the opening ten minutes, and Thomas Meuinier had a header tipped onto the post.
After weathering the early storm, Son Heung-Min scored in his fifth consecutive match for his country. Fellaini and Hazard both failed to get distance on clearing headers, allowing Kim Jung-Woo to clip the ball back into the box for the Hamburg striker to toe-poke the opener past Thibaut Courtois.
The lead was doubled when Jung Jo-Gook out-muscled Vincent Kompany and played a through-ball to Lee Chung-Yong. He brought the ball into the box before clipping over the advancing Courtois for two-nil.
Thomas Meunier halved the deficit with eight minutes to go before the break when he and Anthony Vanden Borre combined at a throw-in. Vanden Borre eventually crossing for Meunier to slot home at the near post.
Belgium pushed for an equaliser before the break, and that proved to be their undoing. Fellaini lost out in a challenge on the edge of the penalty area and South Korea broke forwards own the right, with Ku Ja-Cheol switching the play to the left. Lee Keun-Ho let fly from 15 yards with a shot that Courtois let slip in at the near post.
Fifteen minutes after the break and the comedy of errors was complete. Axel Witsel’s pass backwards to Radja Nainggolan was over-hit, allowing Son Heung-Min racing through to slot home a fourth goal and seal their progress into the Second Round.
A point for Uruguay in their game against World Cup débutantes Bosnia tonight will knock Belgium out.
FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014 MATCH 18: GROUP B BELGIUM 1-4 SOUTH KOREA Meunier 37 Heung-Min 11, 60 Chung-Yong 28 Keun-Ho 45 Salvador
GROUP B P W D L F A GD Pts 1. South Korea 2 2 0 0 7 3 +4 6 Q 2. Uruguay 1 1 0 0 3 2 +1 3 3. Bosnia 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0 4. Belgium 2 0 0 2 3 7 -4 0