"We knew all games were going to be tough," said Belgium coach Marc Wilmots. "But even with 10 men, we still pushed forward. These guys are really hungry."
Belgium fielded four World Cup newcomers, but was reduced to three in the 45th minute when Steven Defour planted his studs, leg outstretched, into the shin of Kim Shin wook. Australian referee Benjamin Williams didn't hesitate to pull out the red card.
Algeria finished second in the group after a 1 1 draw with Russia a result that meant South Korea needed a four goal win to advance.
After three narrow victories and precious little beautiful play, Belgium will now play the United States in Salvador on Tuesday. And along with Iran, Japan and Australia, South Korea departed as the last team from the Asian federation, all in the first round.
Belgium promised to play with flair in this tournament but is proving that it's still a master at grinding out results. Having a goalie like Courtois does make it easier, especially as its defence was missing injured Ny Cap starters Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen. But the Belgians also proved they sorely lacked the creative skills Adidas Cap Navy Blue
While that never looked likely, South Korea did not go without a strong fight, landing the ball on Belgium's crossbar on the hour mark and testing standout goalie Thibaut Courtois with several shots afterward. Yet even with a man up, the Koreans could never pressure Belgium enough to find an opening and paid the price on a counterattack.
With a late goal yet again, Belgium made the difference in the 78th minute when defender Jan Vertonghen followed up a shot from teenage striker Divock Origi and tapped in the rebound past goalkeeper Kim Seung gyu.
Earlier, the South Koreans almost scored around the half Adidas Cap Red
0 to win Group H and eliminate last Asian team from World Cup
of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, who were on the bench from the start.
hour mark. First, a long distance drive from Ki Sung yeung forced Courtois into a great diving save and, one minute later, Defour kicked a ball off the line in another goalmouth scramble.
crossbar beyond the reach of Courtois.
On the hour mark, South Korea came closest to scoring when Son Heung min saw a cross float right onto the Ny Yankees Hat Red
Mertens could have lifted the pressure off Belgium in the 25th minute he was left wide open eight meters out. He skied the ball over, immediately opening his mouth in disbelief at having missed such a chance.
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