Football hipsters will be refilling their tankards with a favourite craft ale, neatly combing their beard and nervously smoothing down their lucky Keegan-era Hamburger SV shirt this afternoon, as the most extravagantly hyped dark horse team in World Cup history step into the fray. Belgium are the latest in a long line of international teams to be able to declare a golden generation of players, boasting European stars like Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard all looking to make a name for themselves on the global stage.

However, the Red Devils are by no means reliant on a handful of superstar players. The squad boasts impressive strength in depth and significant levels of international experience, although only Bayern Munich’s veteran defender Daniel Van Buyten can boast any previous at the World Cup Finals. That was in Japan and Korea in 2002, Belgium’s last major senior international tournament. The wilderness period has been longer than perhaps the Belgians are used to, but they cruised through their qualifying group for 2014, adding weight to the sneaking feeling that all of the factors have aligned at the exact right time for Marc Wilmots’ side.

Their opponents, however, are no pushovers. Algeria are at their second successive World Cup Finals, comfortably winning CAF Group G ahead of Mali and are just outside the top 20 in the FIFA rankings – the highest rated of the five African teams who made it to Brazil. Their experience from their campaign in South Africa will no doubt help solidify what is already a tidy and efficient squad of players. Their star man is the Sporting CP centre forward Islam Slimani, a talented and consistent goalscorer who will be looking to address a possible area of weakness for the Algerian side. It’s a side that defends well as a unit, moves the ball well and has plenty of pace. Belgium go into the game as favourites but there’s every chance that they will have to live up to their pre-tournament billing to come away from Belo Horizonte this afternoon with a result.

The Twohundredpercent punditry panel, who have supped a fair few craft ales and combed a few bears in their time, for this game – positively gibbering with anticipation no doubt – are Jenni Silver and Ted “Flanders” Carter.

You can follow Jenni Silver on Twitter here.

You can follow Ted Flanders on Twitter here.

You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter here.

Jenni June 17, 20146:52 pm

So that’s that then, Belgium snooze for most of the game until Fellaini and Mertens remind them there’s a victory at stake

Ted June 17, 20146:52 pm

Full time: Belgium 2-1 Algeria. Not a vintage match and not a vintage performance by Belgium. Teams will play better than that in this tournament and lose, which will surely be something of a concern for Marc Wilmots. However, they got the job done in the end with a decent ten minute spell in the second half. It will be interesting to see where the groups other teams, Russia and South Korea, are at in terms of performance.

Jenni June 17, 20146:47 pm

It is easily one of the highlights of this game

Ted June 17, 20146:44 pm

Without the pressure of his big-money switch to Manchester United on his mind, it’s really a lot easier to see how brilliant Marouane Fellaini’s hair is again.

Ted June 17, 20146:40 pm

Fellaini has another header tipped over by the Algerian goalkeeper. I don’t know where this Belgium have been all game, but it is beginning to look like Marc Wilmots made some boobs with his starting eleven.

Ted June 17, 20146:38 pm

I’m going to need to get my mouse down. MS paint match reporting is pretty hi-tech stuff.

Rob June 17, 20146:37 pm

Driesmertens is exactly the word I would use to describe this Belgian performance.

Rob June 17, 20146:37 pm

Has any side in this World Cup deserved their lead less?

Ted June 17, 20146:36 pm

Dries Mertens gets on the end of Eden Hazard’s pass and Belgium have all of a sudden turn into a football team. 2-1.

Jenni June 17, 20146:36 pm

And Belgium have remembered they have a “dark horse” label to live up to as Mertens puts them ahead

Ian June 17, 20146:34 pm

This evening, I will be live-blogging the Brazil vs Mexico using the medium of art. Art that I have done. In MS Paint.

Edward, are you about for this?

Ted June 17, 20146:27 pm

Belgium finally wake up and find an equaliser. And as every David Moyes knows, it’s Fellaini, finding himself as the most advanced player just as he used to with Everton.

Jenni June 17, 20146:26 pm

Fellaini heads Belgium back into contention

Ted June 17, 20146:22 pm

Algeria wait until Belgium make all their changes, then bring on their best player.

Jenni June 17, 20146:22 pm

Nice stat from @OptaJoe:

Romelu Lukaku failed to register a single touch in the opposition area during this match. Hooked.

Jenni June 17, 20146:18 pm

Belgium don’t look very frustrated, some of the players look bored

Ted June 17, 20146:16 pm

Belgium are now looking to make changes to the system and the personnel, but until they make a change to Not Ever Taking A Shot Really, it’s hard to see a way through Algeria for them.

Jenni June 17, 20146:07 pm

Bit better from Belgium but barely brilliant

Rob June 17, 20146:02 pm

In Belgium.

Ted June 17, 20145:56 pm

Netherlands: cheese. France: lots of cheese. England make lots of cheese, too. Even Germany make cheese.

Where’s all the Belgian cheese?

Jenni June 17, 20145:54 pm

It’s the heat Ted, it’s gone straight to his vocal cords

Ted June 17, 20145:53 pm

I literally cannot understand 60% of the words Gordon Strachan is saying. Someone needs to put new batteries in him.

Jenni June 17, 20145:52 pm

Probably wise that they’ve brought poor Gordon Strachan in, the man looked like he might evaporate before the game…

Jenni June 17, 20145:49 pm

And, as a friend pointed out on social media, the ITV song *is* less annoying if you just accept it and sing along to it….”Bra-zil, braa-zeeel”

Ted June 17, 20145:47 pm

Half time. Belgium 0-1 Algeria. Belgium have been very sluggish and disappointing, against an Algerian side who you can man mark by playing none at the back. Algeria deserve their lead, if only because they’re the only people to have had a proper shot on target yet.

Ted June 17, 20145:45 pm

Belgium come to life a bit. Eden Hazard dances through the Algerian defence (forgetting, even, to fall over) and feeds a good ball through to Nacer Chadli, who meekly Chadlis it straight at Mbolhi.

Jenni June 17, 20145:39 pm

Belgium really can’t be arsed at this point, can they? No energy

Ted June 17, 20145:39 pm

Unfortunately I missed it. I’m like Jan Vertonghen’s free kick, in that respect.

Rob June 17, 20145:38 pm

Can we have a magnadoodle of that fan waving his shirt in the air?

Ted June 17, 20145:35 pm

Do you remember FIFA International Soccer 95 on the Sega Mega Drive? A game where you could only effectively score from 30 yards out.

Well, Belgium’s players certainly do.

Jenni June 17, 20145:34 pm

This has the air of a pre season friendly, not a World Cup game…

Ted June 17, 20145:33 pm

The quality of the set pieces in the last few days has been pretty shocking. Sam Allardyce would lay an egg.

Ted June 17, 20145:31 pm

Kevin De Bruyne’s free kick goes high and wide, possibly due to having to clear an ocean of spume discharged by the spray-happy referee’s can.

Jenni June 17, 20145:30 pm

He’s had a nightmare with the spray there, the ref

Ted June 17, 20145:29 pm

We already knew what Eden Hazard could do, of course. He’s fallen over. Free kick to Belgium on the edge of the box.

Ted June 17, 20145:28 pm

To be honest, this game needed Algeria to go ahead. Belgium’s attacking had been casual to the point of fecklessness beforehand. Now, let’s see what they can do.

Ted June 17, 20145:26 pm

Props to Algeria there for using my favourite of the goal celebrations: the Islamic Prayers By The Corner Flag celebration.

Rob June 17, 20145:25 pm

Ferghouli with the spot kick – are there any other players at the World Cup with a ghostlike aspect of their name?

Jenni June 17, 20145:24 pm

And Algeria go ahead…ooh

Jenni June 17, 20145:24 pm

Vertonghen apparently “lazy” as he stumbled into the box

Rob June 17, 20145:24 pm

I’ve had a cheeky bet on Algeria to beat Belgium.

Ted June 17, 20145:24 pm

Jan Vertonghen lumps his man over like a tit in the box. It’s a definite spot kick.

Ted June 17, 20145:23 pm

Belgium versus Algeria. This is the most “World Cup” sounding fixture of all time.

Jenni June 17, 20145:23 pm


Jenni June 17, 20145:22 pm

Bit of playacting there, somewhere Adrian Chiles is going mad

Ted June 17, 20145:21 pm

Belgium’s turn to test the Algerian goalkeeper and it’s a far more thorough workout. In that they do. Axel Witsel’s long range effort is beaten away. It’s all Belgium, but they don’t seem to be able to get within 30 yards of their opponent’s goal.

Ted June 17, 20145:19 pm

when Andy Townsend is speaking, it’s reasonably easy to forget you’re watching a football match. He sounds like the Audio Description from a low budget softcore porn film.

Ted June 17, 20145:18 pm

Algeria break free after some suspect and slapdash Belgian defending. However, they blast it very high and very wide. Bit of a waste, that.

Ted June 17, 20145:17 pm

Thibaut Courtois, the goalkeeper so dazzlingly brilliant that he can’t get a game for Chelsea, subject of much speculation by the ITV team this afternoon

Ted June 17, 20145:14 pm

Belgium are currently proving that they can keep possession of the ball for long periods in non-threatening areas of the field, a key asset.

Jenni June 17, 20145:13 pm

*whispers* I only realised recently that Tunisia is not an island, I was convinced it was

Ted June 17, 20145:12 pm

But just where IS Algeria? Here’s our handy guide

Richard June 17, 20145:11 pm

Alderweireld leaves so much space when he goes up the wing. Algeria will exploit that.

Jenni June 17, 20145:09 pm

Kit watch: Belgium kit is strong, nice piping round the neck, works well with those daft fluro boots

Jenni June 17, 20145:08 pm

Hazard looking fairly lightweight, again

Ted June 17, 20145:05 pm

Of course, it’s always difficult to know what to expect from these much-heralded Golden Generations. Personally, I always expect a level of competence at playing football that borders on the fluent, but I’d also accept any of the following:

– power of flight
– super strength

I may have Belgium and the X-Men mixed up.

Jenni June 17, 20145:01 pm

Superb, the man across the road has England flags on his van (just seen him parking)

Ted June 17, 20145:00 pm

Ted June 17, 20145:00 pm

And they’re off!

Jenni June 17, 20145:00 pm

Marc Wilmots looks like a man who should be working in the local planning department

Jenni June 17, 20144:58 pm

And with superb timing I can hear muttering on the baby monitor….he obviously wants to watch this game

Jenni June 17, 20144:54 pm

Ooh bilingual anthem, how very exciting

Ted June 17, 20144:54 pm

Hopefully no-one will be drawing anything. Last night during Iran vs. Nigeria I draw an entire graphic novel.

Jenni June 17, 20144:50 pm

Oh god, do I have to draw stuff too?

Ted June 17, 20144:49 pm

Ian has also threatened to turn this match report into an artistic showcase, so I’ve got my MagnaDoodle handy. If nothing else I can stove in the TV screen with it at half time.

Ted June 17, 20144:47 pm

Hello sports fanatics. The time is almost here for some soccer action. If you’re really lucky Jenni Silver will be along shortly to guide you through today’s early game. Even if she doesn’t, I am at least marginally better than the ITV coverage.

For one thing, I’ve not even mentioned England once.

Except that once, just then. Shut up.