Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Divock Origi, an unlikely hero

Divock Origi, the 19 year old Belgian forward, hails from a sporting family. He is the son of the retired Kenyan footballer Mike Origi, who was known as a very calm character. Divock, was a surprise inclusion in the Belgian squad for FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. However, he has thus far justified his inclusion in the team, making lasting contribution to the advance of the Red Devils to the Round of 16.

It was Divock Origi, coming as a substitute, who broke the deadlock against the defiant Russians in the 88th minute, to score the only goal in the game between the two teams at the legendary Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Perhaps the grandeur of the stadium added pressure to both sides in this match which was crucial for both teams and especially Russia. While Belgium could assure a berth in the Round of 16 if they won the game, Russia would have been in a difficult state if they lost it. Both sides played a fast game, especially in the first half, but lacked the killer punch to deliver the final blow. There were a few bookings but rarely was a free kick given at a dangerous place. Russia had the best of the game initially, but could not convert their chances. In the heat, both teams were tired until the latter by mid second half and it seemed to be that both sides were going for a draw.

But in the last few minutes, the Belgians increased the tempo of the game, launching several attacks through the Russian defense. However, chances still remained unconverted until a pass from Eden Hazard from the left side reached the 19 year old Origi, who sent it to the net comfortably. It was Origi’s first international goal for the Red Devils. Also, at 19 years, 2 months and 4 days, he became the youngest goal scorer of FIFA World Cup 2014 and the youngest goal scorer for Belgium in its World Cup history.

The goal transformed Origi, a virtually unknown player in the international arena, into a world famous footballer. “It was a bit of a surprise since he was an unknown before I selected him. Now everyone knows who he is” Belgian manager Marc Wilmot said.

By scoring the goal, Origi not only took his team to the next round of the World Cup, but simultaneously put Russia in trouble too. Due to this last minute defeat Russia had to win the last game to be in a position to qualify for the next round, which they ultimately failed to do.

Origi remains a serious contender for the Best Young Player of 2014 FIFA World Cup as Belgium awaits their match in Round of 16 against the USA. A victory there will see the Belgians reaching the last eight for the first time since 1986. It would turn Brazil 2014 a memorable World Cup for both Belgium and especially young Divock Origi.

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