FIFA World Cup Preview: Belgium v Russia

Belgium head into Sunday's Group H clash with Russia knowing a victory will ensure they progress to the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup.

Big things were expected of Marc Wilmots' side ahead of the tournament, but they made hard work of getting off to a winning start against Algeria.

Substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens were on target in the last 20 minutes to thwart an Algeria side that looked set to pull off a shock victory after Sofiane Feghouli put them ahead with a first-half penalty.

Belgium had failed to demonstrate the attacking flair that has led to talk of them being dark horses to win the tournament in Brazil.

They dug deep to secure all three points, though, and another victory against Fabio Capello's side - who laboured to a 1-1 draw with South Korea in their opener - at the Maracana will see them through with a game to spare.

Wilmots is optimistic that captain Vincent Kompany will be fit for the Russia match after he sustained a groin problem against Algeria.

The Manchester City skipper was able to finish the game, but revealed he had suffered a twinge late on and Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Ciman and Nicolas Lombaerts will be vying to replace him if he is deemed unfit.

Eden Hazard will get another opportunity to demonstrate why he is held in such regard after it was revealed that a bruised toe will not keep him out of Sunday's clash.

Midfielder Fellaini and winger Mertens could be rewarded for the impact they made with a place in the starting line-up.

Capello, meanwhile, will be demanding an improvement from his Russia side after they had to come from behind to salvage a point against South Korea.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov spared goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev's blushes by equalising 16 minutes from time at Arena Pantanal on Tuesday.

Akinfeev had inexplicably allowed Lee Keun-Ho's speculative strike to slip through his hands and into the net, but Kerzhakov became his country's joint-leading scorer with a close-range strike just six minutes later.

Kerzhakov, who moved level with Vladimir Beschastnykh on 26 goals for Russia, will be hoping to get a chance from the start as he attempts to become the nation's outright all-time leading marksman.

Midfielder Alan Dzagoev could also be promoted to the starting XI on the back of an impressive display after coming on just before the hour in Russia's opener.

Victory for Russia could see them move to the top of Group H with Algeria to come in their final pool match.

Belgium, playing in their first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup, beat Russia in the last meeting between the two nations back in 2010 courtesy of a double from Romelu Lukaku.