Once a pleasure, twice a charm, is how Marc Wilmots will be feeling as he wakes up this morning after the 1-0 win over Russia at the Maracana on Sunday afternoon. After a dismal performance, the Belgium coach brought on young Liverpool target, Divock Origi, and for the second game running at this World Cup.
This time the 19-year-old Lille OSC striker did more than just add a physical presence to the attack: he made some room in the penalty area before smashing his shot past Igor Akinfeev.
Against Algeria in the opening game, Origi came on and caused problems with his strong runs and pace down the flanks. On Sunday against Russia, he showed his instincts as a frontman by making space for himself inside the Russian penalty area, Eden Hazard laid of the ball and the striker fired it high past the Russian goalkeeper.
The young Belgian went into this World Cup as a relative unknown, but now he is becoming one of the stars of this tournament and could be in line for a starting spot in the last group game against South Korea.
Last season he was the youngest player in the French league to score five times, attracting the interest of Arsenal, Liverpool and a whole host of clubs around mainland Europe.
He mostly played the first half of the season in France as a substitute, but after the winter break, coach René Girard, gave him a starting role in Lille’s three man attack and the young striker didn’t disappoint as he went on to score very important goals against Sochaux, Evian and Monaco.
Lille are now having to fend off approaches from big Premier League clubs and Brendan Rodgers is one manager who would love to have the tall striker at Anfield next season. However, it is likely that Lille will hold onto the forward for another 12 months.
The 2010/11 French champions were given the green light by the DNCG finance regulators, they are in a position this summer to not have to sell any prize assets, and they will want Origi to have a strong season in France before cashing in next summer.
If he can continue his excellent form from the World Cup to Ligue 1, scoring around 10 goals would see his price tag jump up to the €15 million mark, so you can see why Liverpool would love to do a deal this summer. With every World Cup goal he scores, Lille president Michel Seydoux rubs his hands in glee.