SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Jan Vertonghen’s late goal saw 10-man Belgium beat South Korea 1-0 in their final Group H match yesterday, despite having Steven Defour sent off just before halftime for a nasty two-footed challenge.
The win made it a maximum nine points for the Belgians, who meet the United States in the last 16 of the Brazil World Cup in Salvador on Tuesday.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots made seven changes from the team that beat Russia, with captain Vincent Kompany and fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen dropping out due to injuries and playmaker Eden Hazard starting on the bench.
“This is a Cup played in a very hot country, so you have to anticipate,” he said, when asked to explain his new-look team. “I saved, I spared those I thought I had to spare. Now everybody is at the same level.”