South Korea v Belgium – World Cup preview

Watch the Group H clash live on ITV on Thursday 26 June

South Korea v Belgium (Group H) 8.30pm ITV (kick-off 9pm)

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So here we are, the final piece of the group stage jigsaw. Belgium, without ever being as spectacular as all the pre-tournament fawning suggested, have shifted through opposition as smoothly as a Eurostar hop to Brussels: Fabio Capello’s stodgy Russians fell after a tentative Algeria in the opening round.

Belgium are already qualified, and a draw or more would send them through top. Their midfield has yet to quite show their true colours, with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard only sparking into life late in the second half against Russia.

Up front Romelu Lukaku will be a concern; he has played 115 minutes of World Cup football, but touched the ball in the opposition’s penalty area just once. But there is time to tinker and improve before their awkward upcoming tie against the Group G runners-up.

Only a win will do for bottom-placed South Korea, and even then they are reliant on a complicated set of permutations from Group H’s other fixture tonight.

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In truth, though, this is a shadow of the side who impressed so many on home soil in the 2002 World Cup. Their fate was sealed during a limp opening 45 minutes against Algeria, and while performances improved during the second half, the 4-2 scoreline flattered them.