Belgium boss Marc Wilmots will have fallen asleep with a smile on his face last night. Managers love nothing more than seeing their substitutes come on and change the game. Both Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens scored in Belgium’s 2-1 come-back against Algeria, but 19-year-old Divock Origi made his World Cup debut, and showed why Arsenal and Liverpool have been watching the forward in the last few months.
The Lille OSC forward entered the game on the 58th minute with his country 1-0 down. The Belgian public were surprised that Origi was even part of Wilmot’s 23-man squad, never mind coming on to try and rescue their countries fate.
He hadn’t been on the field long before he nearly made an instant impact. Algeria failed to deal with a high ball, Origi spun away from his man, turned quickly and he was in one-on-one with Rais M’Bohli. The young striker hit his shot hard and low, but the ‘keeper was able to turn it away. It was nearly the dream start for the tall striker.
From his 30 minutes on the pitch you got to see all the qualities that Origi has shown during his 18 months in Lille’s first team. His long legs and powerful physique give his superb acceleration. His size makes him a handful for defenders and he is intelligent and always developing.
For Belgium’s second goal, Eden Hazard turned and advanced toward the Algeria penalty area, Origi made a great run from right to left, pulling away a centre-back from the centre of the pitch. This gave Mertens that extra few yards of space to fire Belgium’s second goal and complete the come-back.
Origi is the next big hope at Ligue 1 side Lille, and Coach Rene Girard will be hoping to hold on to the teenage sensation for at least another 12 months. Arsenal and Liverpool have already sent scouts to the Stade Pierre Mauroy to monitor his progression. So far they would have been impressed with what they witnessed for his club, and now his impressive cameo for his country will have done little to put them off.
If the Premier League sides are serious in their interest they will have to break the bank to entice Lille into letting Origi go. However, with every exciting performance during this World Cup, his price tag will continue to rise and rise.