Already qualified Belgium wrapped up first place in FIFA World Cup Group H after responding bravely to the setback of Steven Defour's first-half dismissal by rallying to beat South Korea 1-0 in Sao Paulo.
Marc Wilmots's team had booked progress with wins in their opening two games against Algeria (2-1) and Russia (1-0) and the only question at the Arena de Sao Paulo – where their lineup showed seven changes – was whether they would retain top billing in their group. This they achieved thanks to a determined reaction to Defour's sending-off which had its reward with Jan Vertonghen's 78th-minute close-range goal.
Belgium, who now face a round of 16 tie against the United States, had begun the third matchday requiring a solitary point to clinch pole, yet they started on the front foot. Dries Mertens lashed the ball over the bar after it broke fortuitously for the Belgium forward following Marouane Fellaini's flicked header and Kevin Mirallas's skip in the South Korea box. The SSC Napoli player also drifted a shot wide when well placed.
|21||Kim (GK)||1||Courtois (GK)|
|13||Koo Ja-Cheol (C)||15||Van Buyten|
|1||Jung Sung-Ryong (GK)||12||Mignolet (GK)|
|23||Lee (GK)||13||Bossut (GK)|
|22||Park Joo Ho|
|Myung-Bo Hong (KOR)||Marc Wilmots (BEL)|
|Williams Benjamin (AUS)|