We're six days through the 2014 World Cup, and all of the 32 teams included have officially made their debuts.
Group H was the last four-some to open up play in Brazil, and they did so on Tuesday with Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea becoming the final four teams to take the pitch.
That wasn't all on tap, as Brazil and Mexico dueled to a scoreless draw in Group A for the second match of the tournament for both sides.
Let's break down all of the Day 6 results and take a look at the updated group table.
|Australia vs. Netherlands||June 18||12 p.m.||B|
|Spain vs. Chile||June 18||3 p.m.||B|
|Croatia vs. Cameroon||June 18||6 p.m.||A|
|Colombia vs. Ivory Coast||June 19||12 p.m.||C|
|Uruguay vs. England||June 19||3 p.m.||D|
|Japan vs. Greece||June 19||6 p.m.||C|
|Italy vs. Costa Rica||June 20||12 p.m.||D|
|Switzerland vs. France||June 20||3 p.m.||E|
|Honduras vs. Ecuador||June 20||6 p.m.||E|
|Argentina vs. Iran||June 21||12 p.m.||F|
|Germany vs. Ghana||June 21||3 p.m.||G|
|Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||June 21||6 p.m.||F|
Day 6 Results
Belgium 2, Algeria 1
It's been a World Cup of comebacks, and Belgium kept that going on Tuesday. Although results from the past few days have gotten away from the trend of comebacks, Group H favorites Belgium brought it back by rattling off two second-half goals to top Algeria.
The Belgians were in trouble early, when they gave up a penalty in the 25th minute. Sofiane Feghouli confidently netted it to give the Algerians a stunning 1-0 lead.
That didn't immediately wake Belgium up, as they continued sluggish play on into the second half. But with their opening match slipping away, they turned to substitutions to get the job done.
Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini was subbed in during the 65th minute. Five minutes later, he rose above a contesting defender to head in the equalizer. Some 10 minutes after that, Dries Mertens cut into the box and ripped home the winner.
It was far from a perfect performance from Belgium, but head coach Marc Wilmots was pleased with the way his team responded at half, per The Guardian's Owen Gibson:
"At half-time the players were a bit down but I said: 'Don’t worry, we will completely change the course of the match.' We deserved to win."
"The first half was very difficult because Algeria played very well in a block with good organisation," he said. "In the second half there was a lot more space. It was a very good team performance. Physically speaking it was a bit more difficult for Algeria. We showed patience and that’s important – not to become too nervous."
The result was nothing short of crucial for the Belgians. As one of the dark horses in Brazil with 14-1 odds of winning it all, per Odds Shark, they couldn't afford an early loss. Next up for them is a battle with Russia on June 22.
Meanwhile, Algeria came awfully close to an inspiring victory but instead are left with no points. That puts them in last place in Group H, meaning their upcoming game against South Korea could end their shot at advancing.
Brazil 0, Mexico 0
The World Cup's first second match, if you will, matched up Brazil and Mexico with both having won their opening matches in Group A. But neither could separate itself from the other, playing to a surprisingly exciting scoreless draw.
Both teams put their speed and skill on display in the first half, going back-and-forth for a number of decent scoring chances. But defense on both sides was tough to penetrate.
Mexico were the aggressor for the better part of the second half, forcing Brazil to defend a slew of solid chances. But for the final 20 minutes, it was a Brazilian onslaught on the Mexican goal—and the man standing between the posts came up huge.
Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was a brick wall with six saves, turning back a number of chances that each looked destined for the back of the net.
Ochoa's impact on the match was undeniable. It was one of the true dominant performances thus far in Brazil, coming against the host country, no less.
The way his goalkeeper performed captivated Mexico manager Miguel Herrera, per ESPN FC's Tom Marshall:
Miguel Herrera: Ochoa responded as we knew he would. Three incredible saves.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) June 17, 2014
There's no telling how this result truly impacts both teams until they see how Croatia and Cameroon play out on Wednesday. Both now have four points through two games, but Brazil have an advantage in goal differential over Mexico.
But there's no doubt that the result is felt quite differently from one team to the next. Brazil have to be deflated to fail to win at home and take the outright lead, while Mexico are certainly excited to get any sort of result against the host country as they head into an important final match against Croatia.
South Korea 1, Russia 1
The viewing public has been spoiled with comeback victory after goal-scoring explosion after thrilling finish so far in Brazil. But there's this thing called a draw, too, and Tuesday made that clear with South Korea and Russia playing to the second draw of the day, 1-1.
Tuesday's nightcap lacked pace and decent scoring chances for the better part of the first half, but things picked up just before half-time. Russia found quality chances, and South Korea answered back with counters—but both sides were still scoreless after 45 minutes.
In the 68th minute, the match shifted significantly with one awkward bounce off Igor Akinfeev's palms. South Korea's Lee Keun-Ho ripped a shot on target, and Akinfeev was right in position—only for it to bounce backward off his hands and fall into the net.
It was a crazy way for the Russians to face their first deficit in Brazil, but they responded with authority. Russia pushed the ball into the South Korean penalty area over and over, and in the 74th minute, Alexander Kerzhakov equalized off a rebound.
South Korea can't feel great about giving up the lead, but this one was destined for a draw. If anything, they should be lauded for strong defense that kept all but one of Russia's 18 shots at bay.
Meanwhile, Russia avoided what would have been a crushing early defeat to arguably the easiest foe they will face in Group H. They will enter the upcoming match against Belgium hoping for a big result to put them in control of the group.
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