World Cup 2014 Predictions: Projecting Group a and H Results on Day 6

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

Belgium's Eden Hazard, left, gets a high five from coach Marc Wilmots after Hazard's goal to make the score 0-2 during the friendly soccer match between Sweden and Belgium at Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden, Sunday June 1, 2014. (AP photo / TT News Agency, Janerik Henriksson)  SWEDEN OUT

Group H finally gets in on the World Cup 2014 action on Day 6 as Belgium take on Algeria and Russia face up to South Korea. 

Marc Wilmots' young side are one of the most talked about teams of the tournament and will be eager to get off to a good start in their first World Cup appearance since 2002.

Fabio Capello will hope his Russian side fare better than his 2010 England team did, but they face a tough opener against an unpredictable South Korea side.

Meanwhile, Brazil also play on Tuesday, taking on Mexico in their second group game after a 3-1 victory over Croatia in the tournament opener. 

Read on for full predictions for Day 6:


Belgium to Get Off to Winning Start

Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

Belgium look to have one of the strongest starting line-ups in the entire tournament with genuine quality across the pitch, from Thibaut Courtois and Vincent Kompany at the back to Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku in attack.

With good reason many are very excited to see how they get on, including football writer Sam Ashoo, and an opener with Algeria offers them a very good chance to get off to a good start:

However, Algeria should not be underestimated, and Belgium will have to work to avoid their threat out wide, a difficult task considering the Red Devils' complete lack of genuine full-backs. 

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen—both naturally central defenders—will likely start out wide and will need to be vigilant in unfamiliar positions.

A complete team effort will be needed, Belgium cannot simply rely on their talented individuals to see them through. But their unbeaten qualifying campaign and decent return in their warm-up games—they have recently claimed victories over Tunisia, Sweden and Luxembourg—suggests Belgium have the quality to see off Algeria on Tuesday.

They should be looking at topping Group H and interestingly have a huge advantage in the lack of travel they have compared to many of the other teams, per sports writer Liviu Bird:

The other clash in Group H is a very tricky one to predict as it pits South Korea against Russia. Hong Myung-bo's men have a terrible recent record and went down 4-0 to Ghana in a warm-up match, per the BBC's Oluwashina Okeleji:

However, they are very unpredictable and often impress at major tournaments, most recently winning a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Russia qualified at the top of their group and are a solid outfit under the guiding hand of the vastly experienced and successful Capello.

Their squad includes 23-year-old Dynamo Moscow forward Aleksandr Kokorin, who is a very exciting talent and will be the focus of their attacks having scored four times in their qualifying campaign.

However, the Russians may not have enough to pick up all three points against South Korea, and a draw seems likely.

Prediction: Belgium 3-0 Algeria, Russia 1-1 South Korea


Brazil to Up Their Game

TERESOPOLIS, BRAZIL - JUNE 14: Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gestures during a training session of the Brazilian national football team at the squad's Granja Comary training complex, on June 14, 2014 in Teresopolis, 90 km from downtown Rio de Janeiro, Br
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Despite a 3-1 win against Croatia, Brazil did not look great in the tournament opener as they seemed often under pressure in Sao Paulo.

With the tournament now in full swing, Luiz Felipe Scolari's side should be more relaxed when they face Mexico on Tuesday.

Neymar and Oscar are already looking in good form, so now it's up to the likes of Fred and Hulk to get on the scoresheet in Fortaleza.

However, the more pressing concern—which Scolari will most likely have been addressing since Thursday—is the indiscipline of the Brazil defence, per the Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward:

This could be punished against the likes of Mexico's Oribe Peralta and Giovani dos Santos, but expect the hosts to be much more organised in their second game. 

Three points for Brazil will leave them all but qualified for the last 16, and with that as an incentive, they should be much improved.

It will no doubt be tight. Mexico are a very good team as they proved against Cameroon, but Brazil should prevail.

Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Mexico