World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 11 with Jermaine Jones, Vincent Kompany, Slimani
Another day of World Cup action has passed us by, with six more nations getting their second group-stage games out of the way—and another step is taken toward qualification for the knock-out rounds, or an early plane home.
Belgium took a late 1-0 victory over Russia, before a crazy, see-saw game saw Algeria run out 4-2 winners over Korea Republic. Belgian boss Marc Wilmots praised his impact substitute Divock Origi, the scorer of the winning goal, after the game, per Graham Chase of BBC Sport.
"[Origi] is in a good space right now," Wilmots said. "He's 19 years old. It was a bit of a surprise since he was an unknown before I selected him. Now everyone knows who he is. It was not an easy match but I think we deserved to win it."
The final fixture of the evening saw Portugal take and then surrender the lead against United States, before finding an equaliser themselves in the last seconds of the match.
Here is our best XI of the day, unsurprisingly featuring a number of stars from Algeria's victory.
GK: Rais M'Bolhi, ALG
We start with Algeria's goalkeeper, Rais M'Bolhi, who produced a big performance with some saves at key times.
A fairly quiet first half (for him, at least) ended with his side 3-0 up, but Korea came back with a vengeance after half-time and M'Bolhi was called upon to make a number of important stops, before and after Korea's first goal.
He conceded twice, but it easily could have been more with the momentum that Korea had in chasing the comeback, were it not for his excellent reactions and agility. He took the ball commandingly in the air in the second half, too, relieving the pressure on his side.
DR: Fabian Johnson, USA
USA vs. Portugal has finished, but Fabian Johnson is probably still running.
The United States' right-back gets through a phenomenal amount of work during matches, raiding up and down the flank to aid attacks and fulfil his defensive duties.
He was excellent once more against Portugal, helping his side create a number of chances as they came from behind against their European opposition, but also making sure Portugal's wide attackers—which early on in the game included Cristiano Ronaldo, loosely from that side—had very little joy.
DC: Rafik Halliche, ALG
Algeria's impressive win over Korea stemmed from direct attacks, but also a solid and uncompromising defence which denied Korea any kind of time on the ball in the first half.
Rafik Halliche was their rock at the back, quickly closing out the forwards and remaining alert and aggressive in the air for the few more direct passes Korea put toward the penalty box.
He also powered in a terrific header to make it 2-0.
DC: Vincent Kompany, BEL
Vincent Kompany was a steady performer for Belgium, never really coming under too much pressure from an unambitious and stilted Russian outfit.
He played out of the back well, made one very good block tackle against a counterattack—preventing any potential danger—and generally led his team with authority.
If he had been struggling with a groin injury before the game, it didn't show in the 90 minutes.
DL: DaMarcus Beasley, USA
Opposite Jermaine Johnson, DaMarcus Beasley put in a good performance at left-back, though his impressive 94 minutes were blotted by the last-gasp equaliser which came from a cross on his side. He couldn't get close enough to Cristiano Ronaldo to block the delivery.
Before then, though, he outpaced Nani several times as the Portuguese tried to bypass him on the wing, held the defensive line well and supported his midfield with overlapping runs.
He took a few kicks in the game, too, but Beasley was one of several strong performers overall for the States.
DM: Axel Witsel, BEL
Axel Witsel was a great platform for Belgium, providing the central midfield balance in front of the defence to allow the other central players to break forward.
The Belgian midfielder was not spectacular, but reliable, consistent and always readily available to take possession for his team as they attempted to break down a Russia side who were as stubborn and unimaginative as Belgium themselves for long periods.
Defensively, Witsel protected his side and broke up play when he could, serving as an important part of their clean sheet overall.
CM: Jermaine Jones, USA
Both Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman were excellent for USA in midfield, but Jones gets the nod.
We'll get to his goal in a moment, but his all-purpose performance saw him harass and close down the Portugal midfield constantly throughout the game, while he also had licence to break forward at pace on occasions, supporting down the channels and even managing to be the farthest-forward player for his team a couple of times.
The match analysis of Tim Oscroft of BBC Sport noted that United States put in a "performance characterised by attacking verve and defensive slackness"—but only half of that can be attributed to Jones, who was a big protector of his back line, as well as making his surging runs forward.
Now, his big moment. That ball stayed hit—a terrific, curling strike with so much power that it was never ending as anything but a goal.
CM: Joao Moutinho, POR
Portugal's midfielders didn't take advantage often enough of the fact that USA were largely content to sit back and wait for them to reach the final third; too often, the passes were slow, sideways or without a clear plan in mind.
Joao Moutinho was really the one who tried to force the issue at times, keeping possession still but being positive with it, looking to find small gaps to play into the front three and moving off once more to become available to receive the ball back.
AM: Yacine Brahimi, ALG
Yacine Brahimi put on a great display for Algeria, mixing creativity and inventive attacking with a hard-working effort defensively.
He was constantly on the move, looking to pick the ball up in space for his side, provide an outlet or else pick it up and run from deep, committing Korea's defenders and opening up spaces on the pitch as a result.
His goal was well-taken, but he also created chances for others and chased back defensively extremely well.
AM: Abdel Djabou, ALG
Along with Yacine Brahimi, Abdel Djabou put in a terrifically lively performance, full of little one-twos and darts beyond the defensive line.
His capacity to accelerate away from defenders and quickly exchange passes led to a host of chances for his team, while he also finished well for the third goal before the break.
He was a big part of Algeria's plan to attack from the outset and he delivered in style.
FW: Islam Slimani, ALG
Algeria's phenomenal victory stemmed from a brutal onslaught in the first half, with striker Islam Slimani overpowering and being far too good with his off-the-ball movement for Korea's defenders at every attempt.
He had already had a couple of half-chances fall his way before he tucked home the opening goal, showing great pace and composure, as well as strength to latch onto the long, bouncing ball.
Other than his goal, though, he showed great movement, awareness and link-up play throughout the game to produce one of the most effective striker's displays of the tournament so far.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!