10 Key Factors That Will Decide FIFA World Cup 2014 Group H
The final day of games in World Cup Group H promises to be enormously exciting.
After their win over Russia, Belgium have qualified for the knockout stages. However, their ultimate position is as yet undecided. If Algeria beat Russia and the Belgians fail to beat Korea, the North Africans could pip them to winning the group.
Every team in the group still has a hope of progression, however faint.
Russia still stand a decent chance of going through, while a surprise set of results could even see South Korea enter the knockout stages.
Go to the next slide to discover the 10 factors that will help decide the final standings in Group H.
Eden Hazard's Brilliance
Against Russia, a dazzling run from Eden Hazard effectively decided the game.
For long periods, he wasn't a prominent figure in the match. In fact, most of the Belgian approach play went through the opposing flank, with Dries Mertens shining.
However, when it came to the crunch, Hazard delivered. The Chelsea man skipped down the left flank before cutting the ball back to lay on the winner.
If he produces that kind of moment of brilliance against South Korea, Belgium will be difficult to stop.
Barring a bizarre set of scorelines in the final game, South Korea are going home.
However, they're a fiercely proud team. As they showed during their game against the Algerians, they won't roll over without a fight. If they can beat Belgium to record their first win of the tournament, Algeria could yet top the group.
Algeria's Attacking Excellence
Against South Korea, Algeria became the first African team to score four goals in a World Cup match.
Their effervescent attacking could be vital in deciding the final group standings. Their goal difference is currently one shy of Belgium's. A convincing win over Russia could change that and allow them to leapfrog Marc Wilmots' team.
Fabio Capello Seeks Russian Fluency
In his time as England manager, Fabio Capello was often criticised for failing to be fluent in the English language.
Unfortunately, his tenure as Russia coach has been marked by a more worrying trait—a lack of fluency on the field. Although his team are well organised, they have been dour and uninspiring in attack. That must change if they are to overcome Algeria in the final group game.
Romelu Lukaku or Divock Origi?
For the final group game, Marc Wilmots must choose between Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi.
Origi came off the bench to score the winner against Russia, and there will be plenty of calls for the 19-year-old to play from the start against South Korea. His inexperience would make it a significant gamble, but Origi seems surprisingly comfortable on the international stage.
This decision could have a huge impact on Belgium's match against South Korea and thus their final position in the group.
Park Chu-Young's Revival
South Korea need a remarkable set of circumstances to qualify. If Park Chu-Young could score the goals to see them through, then it would be regarded as something of a miracle.
The forgotten man of the Arsenal squad is enjoying a mini-revival on the world stage, but he will need to improve upon his two performances thus far to trouble an experienced Belgium defence.
Marc Wilmots made a series of changes for the game against Russia. Now he must decide whether to stick or twist for the final match against South Korea.
Dries Mertens, who came in having impressed as a substitute against Algeria, was particularly impressive and is likely to keep his place. However, with Thomas Vermaelen having picked up a hamstring injury, Wilmots could be forced to reintroduce Jan Vertonghen, who disappointed in the opening match.
At this stage of the competition, stamina becomes an important attribute. The games come thick and fast, and teams need to keep up the tempo despite a gruelling schedule and warm conditions.
South Korea and Algeria's pulsating match will have sapped both teams of energy. Can they recover in time for the final round of games?
Can Algeria Hold Their Nerve?
If Algeria can hold Russia in their final match, they will become the first North African side to make it to the second stage since 1986.
Being on the verge of history brings its own unique pressure. Now we will find out if they have the mental strength to see the job through.
Luck will play a part.
The competition between these four teams appears to be very close. A freak goal could see any one of three nations join Belgium in progressing to the next round.
All four of the teams will pray that they have luck on their side come the final reckoning.
How do you think Group H will finish? Let us know below.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!