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World Cup

Algeria builds big lead early

– Islam Slimani scored one goal and made two more as Algeria swept to a 4-2 victory over South Korea on Sunday to become the first African team to score four goals in a World Cup match.

The result gives Algeria its first World Cup win since 1982 and moves it into second place in Group H with one match left to play, against Russia.

Slimani opened the scoring with a fine solo goal after 26 minutes as his team raced into a 3-0 lead at halftime. However, it then had to withstand a South Korean fight back after the break to secure the points.

“The first period was almost perfect,” Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. “I’d like to dedicate this victory to the fans and the Algerian people who have been waiting for this for many, many years.”

Defeat for South Korea means it must now beat already-qualified Belgium and hope that other results go its way to progress to the knockout stages.

Belgium leads with six points, Algeria has three, and Russia and South Korea have one apiece.

Halilhodzic had promised changes after an opening 2-1 defeat to Belgium and introduced five new players Sunday, essentially rebuilding its attack.

Algeria dominated the opening 15 minutes, with midfield playmaker Sofiane Feghouli and Slimani both coming close.

Slimani, one of three Algeria scorers who didn’t start against Belgium, broke the deadlock, running onto a through ball between two defenders, controlling it once and then steering it past Jung Sung-ryong.

Algeria doubled its lead two minutes later when defender Rafik Halliche headed in a corner after Jung came off his line but failed to make contact with the ball.

Algeria’s third also came from a long ball, which Slimani neatly pulled back to Abdelmoumene Djabou, who was in space and side-footed home from close to the penalty spot.

“The coach gave me clear instructions and they worked,” said Slimani, who was voted Algerian player of the year in 2013. “We didn’t get a good start to the tournament but I think we played a good match today. I hope we can qualify, God willing.”

BELGIUM 1, RUSSIA 0: In Rio de Janeiro, teenage forward Divock Origi turned a listless Belgian performance into a late 1-0 win over Russia on Sunday, enough to qualify for the next round of the World Cup with two straight victories.

Belgium barely contained a reinvigorated Russia for most of the match, yet struck with a blistering final spurt of class and opportunism to turn a bad situation into a wild celebration for coach Marc Wilmots in the 88th minute and hugs all around at the fulltime.

“It was not easy, but we never gave up,” Wilmots said.

A pinpoint pass from Eden Hazard and cool right-foot finishing from 19-year-old Origi gave Belgium more than it deserved.