Supersubs prove World Cup match winners for Belgium

23 June 2014 01:46

Belgian supersub Divock Origi is not sure whether he will get another game at the World Cup, but he is happy to put himself at the mercy of coach Marc Wilmots.

The 19-year-old is one of a team of scorers-in-waiting who have taken the European side through to the World Cup last 16.

Origi, who could have played for Kenya, came on as a substitute for a second game in a row against Russia on Sunday to slam in a precious 88th minute winning goal for the European side.

On Tuesday it was Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens who were brought on to get winning goals after Belgium had fallen behind to Algeria. Thanks to their efforts, the Red Devils are likely to top Group H.

Origi is raw talent. Fellaini is an established English Premier League star, now with Manchester United. Mertens plays with Napoli in Italy.

Wilmots said after the win that every player has to be ready to wait for a chance to get on the pitch and vaunted the depth of his squad's strength.

"What is important is that Belgium can count on totally devoted players -- I nunderstand that people are not happy to be substitutes," he added.

Origi, who only recently broke into the first team at Lille in France, is happy to follow Wilmots' tough rules.

"I hope I have paid back some of the confidence the coach has shown he has in me," he said after scoring the goal in his fourth appearance. "I'm very happy for the team and for Belgium."

"It was very special to score here at the Maracana in the World Cup - and my family in the tribune too," said Ostend-born Origi, whose father played for Kenya, who tried to tempt the teenager as well.

After his success before 72,000 people in the Maracana stadium, Origi said he was keeping his fingers crossed about getting a place in the team for the final group match against South Korea on Thursday.

"I just try to keep calm and to enjoy my game and what I'm doing.

"I believe in my quality and I gave my all. I try to give the maximum and I believe I have the talent to do well," said the youngster, confidently swapping between English and French.

The teenager is just one of a squad packed with world-class talent even though Belgium has only 11 million people.

The country's best showing at the World Cup so far was reaching the semi-finals in 1986, when they lost to Diego Maradona's Argentina.

They last reached the tournament in 2002, but were so good in qualifying this time that many people consider them dark horse contenders to get to the final.

The team suffered a blow when striker Christian Benteke suffered an achilles tendon injury ahead of the finals. That let in the teenager.

"If Benteke had been fit Divock wouldn't be here," said Wilmots. "But I like to launch youngsters and he's quick and disciplined."

Origi linked up with another established star, Chelsea's Eden Hazard, who burst down the left wing to the touch line to set up the goal.

The teenager heaped praise on Hazard's contribution.

"It's magnificent to have a player like that. I admire him - he's a great player," said Origi.

Source: AFP