Algeria stun South Korea in six goal thriller

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Dreamland: Algeria's Rafik Halliche celebrates scoring his side's second goal.

Algeria put themselves in pole position to reach the World Cup knock-out stages for the first time with a 4-2 win over South Korea in Porto Alegre on Sunday.

It was the first time an African team had scored four goals in a World Cup match and ended a 32 year win drought at the finals for the 'Desert Foxes'.

First half goals from Islam Slimani, Rafik Halliche and Abdelmoume Djabou put Algeria in total control.

Yacine Brahimi's second half strike, sandwiched by efforts from Son Heung-Min and Koo Ja-Cheol, ensured Algeria moved up to second in Group H behind Belgium.

Having been knocked out in the group stages of their three previous tournament appearances, and not won a World Cup match in their last seven attempts, Algeria were looking for a lift at the Beira Rio stadium.

They were off to a dream start as Slimani, one of five changes from their opening 2-1 defeat to Belgium, muscled off Korea's two centre-backs to latch onto a long ball forward and jab home.

Within three minutes, Halliche had doubled the lead with a powerful header from a corner.

Djabou, another player promoted to the starting line-up, fired home the third as Korea's hapless defence once again went missing.

The Asians were a different proposition in the second half and quickly pulled a goal back through Son, who fired through goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi's legs.

Mbolhi then made a brilliant save to deny Ki Sung-Yeung as the Koreans continued to push before Brahimi virtually killed the game after finishing off a slick passing move.

Koo slotted home a cross from Lee Keun-Ho but it wasn't enough to spare Korea's blushes, meaning they must now beat Belgium in their final group game to stand any chance of progressing.

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Xavi and Casillas to sit out Spain’s final World Cup match

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End of an era: Xavi (l) and Casillas could have played their last games for Spain.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque confirmed that neither Iker Casillas nor Xavi Hernandez will start his side's final World Cup Group B game against Australia on Monday, raising the possibility that both men have played their final game for their country.

The world and European champions have already been eliminated from the competition following defeats against Chile and the Netherlands.

Casillas has been much criticised for his performances in conceding seven goals in those two games and will be replaced by Pepe Reina as Del Bosque attempts to give minutes to all those in his squad that have yet to feature in the tournament.

"For sure Xavi will not play tomorrow (Monday) because he has a slight muscular problem," said the former Real Madrid boss on Sunday. "Reina will definitely play."

Xavi is expected to announce his retirement from international football and his exit from Barcelona after 16 years with the Catalan club in the coming days.

And he could be followed by the likes of Casillas, Xabi Alonso and David Villa as Spain's disastrous showing in Brazil after winning three consecutive major tournaments heralds a changing of the guard.

"I don't think one game more or less is going to give him more recognition than he already has," Del Bosque said on Xavi missing out on a final World Cup appearance after 133 caps.

"He was the player that covered the most ground from both teams in the game against the Netherlands.

"They talk about renovation and marginalising the veterans, as if we have failed purely because of them. It is everyone who has lost together, but our recognition of Xavi remains huge."

Questions have been raised over the harmony within the Spanish camp in recent days after Alonso's claim that the team "lacked hunger" after their success in recent years was emphatically rejected by some of his teammates.

And Del Bosque insisted that there had been no problem with his players even after he reportedly reprimanded Cesc Fabregas for his lackadaisical attitude in training on Saturday.

"The coach always has to think about everyone and the player thinks about himself. It happened to all of us when we were players," he said. "The Cesc thing is something that happens in training all the time. We don't need to make a mountain out a molehill because it doesn't deserve it.

"The behaviour of the players has been fantastic. It is in defeat that you see how people truly are."

The 31-year-old Reina will be making his first appearance in the World Cup and is determined to at least end a disappointing tournament on a high.

"It is the dream of any player to play in a World Cup," said the Liverpool goalkeeper, who spent last seasdon on loan at Napoli. "I wish it could be in different circumstances but the only thing we can't change is that we can't qualify.

"I don't think we are going to change the opinion of the people a lot because we are already out, but we want to end the competition in the most dignified way possible."

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Belgium leave it late once again to maintain 100% record

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Wonderkid: Divock Origi took his chance superbly well.

Teenage substitute Divock Origi scored a late goal to give Belgium a 1-0 victory over Russia and secure his country a place in the World Cup last 16 on Sunday.

The 19-year-old broke the deadlock with an 88th minute shot after a frustrating game in the heat of Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.

Belgium – in their first major finals since the 2002 World Cup – have six points from two games and are well placed to take top spot in Group H.

Belgium now have six points from two games and are well placed to take top spot in Group H.

The size of the qualification mountain facing Fabio Capello's Russia now depends on the result of the South Korea-Algeria match later Sunday.

The two sides set off at a furious pace that could not be maintained in the Maracana stadium.

Viktor Faizulin shot from the edge of the penalty area forcing a save from Thibaut Courtois in the Belgian goal.

Belgium's Napoli striker Dries Martens shot narrowly wide after beating two players.

Moments later he broke free again but pushed the ball across the face of the Russian goal.

The game did not improve in the second half although the tension did mount as striker Romelu Lukaku directed some angry words at Belgian coach Marc Wilmots when he was replaced by Origi. Lukaku was substituted for the second straight game after a another disappointing performance.

But Origi, who plays for Lille in France, proved his worth with the goal as Belgium piled on the pressure in the late stages, with fellow substitute Kevin Mirallas hitting the post with a free kick seconds earlier.

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