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World Cup Day Six: Favorites Struggle

Ocho-MexicoOn Tuesday we got to see two of the favorites for the World Cup in action as dark horse Belgium played their first game of the tournament against and Algeria and host nation Brazil entertained Mexico.

Whether it was first game nerves,or the pressure of being their so called “golden generation: Belgium were not impressive at all against Algeria, and went behind after 23 minutes when Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen pulled back Sofiane Feghouli in the box.

With Romelu Lukaku showing why Jose Mourinho does not fancy him, Belgium struggled to create chances and it took the introduction of Marouane Fellaini to change the game around. Manchester United fans might snicker at that comment, but Fellaini against Algeria was everything that he was not for United last season. He moved the ball quickly and got himself forward into good positions and headed home from a Kevin De Bruyn cross for the equalizer.

With Algeria pushing for a equalizer they left themselves open to the counter and Belgium punished them when Dries Mertens scored in the 80th minute to wrap up the points.

While Belgium were playing their first game, Brazil were playing their second as they were held 0-0 by Mexico. Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ocho was simply brilliant, denying Brazil with at least three world class saves, one from Neymar in the first half that will probably go down as the save of the tournament.

But Ocho was not the only goalkeeper who played well. Julio Cesar was called upon to make some good saves himself as Mexico created several good chances. And that is what will worry Big Phil. Brazil won the Confederations Cup last season with a really strong defense and Neymar. This time around they seem to be trying to play a more expansive style of football and it is causing some defensive problems that good teams will exploit.