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RIO DE JANEIRO – After an hour, the fans were whistling. A few minutes later, the stadium’s giant video screens flashed a shot of a man asleep in his seat. With Belgium playing Russia, it was that kind of day — until suddenly it wasn’t.

With one quick counterattack — a rare moment of excitement in the 88th of 90 dreary minutes — Belgium grabbed a 1-0 victory Sunday and a place in the World Cup’s round of 16.

It was the second straight match in which Belgium scored a late winner, and it set up the Belgians as the favorites to win Group H. That would mean a date against the second-place finisher in Group G, possibly the United States, to open the knockout stage.

“We didn’t play a very good match,” said Eden Hazard, whose pass led to the goal. “The last 10 minutes were good. That’s all.”

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The goal was scored by Divock Origi, a 19-year-old who plays for Lille in France. Origi, who has made four appearances for Belgium, entered as a substitute in the 57th minute.

After the goal, players ran to Origi, coach Marc Wilmots ran onto the field and the announced crowd of 73,819 — which at one point had chanted in Portuguese about “second-division” soccer — released a collective thank-you cry.

Algeria triumphs

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – Algeria scored three times in the first 38 minutes and went on to a 4-2 victory over South Korea in a Group H match.

It was Algeria’s first victory in World Cup play since 1982.

“The first period was almost perfect,” Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic said.


• A shirtless man who invaded the pitch during the Germany-Ghana 2-2 draw Saturday was a neo-Nazi sympathizer, according to a report that will be delivered to FIFA on Monday.

• Former Argentina great Diego Maradona was labeled a “bad-luck charm” by Julio Grondona, Argentina football association president, on Saturday.

On live television Sunday, Maradona had a response — a middle-finger gesture after talking about Grondona.

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