Widely billed as the group favourites and dark horse to lift the trophy, Belgium had to toil hard to erase the 0-1 deficit after Algeria had taken the lead in the 25th minute against the run of play through a penalty kick conversion by Sofiane Feghouli.
Belgium, whose most of players ply trade in top European clubs, like Chelsea star Eden Hazard and Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany, turned the match on its head with two goals in the space of 10 minutes.
Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini equalised in the 70th minute through a glancing header off Kevin De Bruyne’s fine cross from the left and with momentum on Belgium’s side, substitute Dries Mertens made a fierce finish with a low shot for the winning goal in the 80th minute.
Today’s win was the first World Cup victory for Belgium after defeating Russia 3-2 in a group match in Shizuoka, Japan in 2002 and they richly deserved it as they had the overwhelming 65 per cent possession and dictated terms on their opponents except for conceding a surprise goal.
To the credit of Algeria, who were playing in their fourth World Cup, they frustrated a quality European side, full of players in top clubs, for 70 minutes though the resistance broke down in the last 20 minutes.
Algeria sat back in the first half with more men in the defence but were lucky to have taken the lead through a surprise goal in the 25th minute.
It looked like that Algeria will register their first World Cup win after their victory over Chile in 1982 but it was a matter of time a rampaging Belgium stamped their authority with incessant attack under which the Algerian defence crumbled finally.