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Van Buyten Solid Again in Belgium's Narrow 1-0 Victory Over Russia

The 38-year-old assists in Belgium's advancement into the knockout stages with a clean sheet in defense

Clive Rose

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

Daniel van Buyten held his opponents in check for the second consecutive match as Belgium beat Russia 1-0 in the Maracanã Stadium.

Van Buyten registered another full shift in the heart of Marc Wilmots's defense, managing to limit Russia's chances without registering a single foul. His marking and positioning were top notch as he was not overwhelmed with pace and limited Russia's options in the penalty area.

His defensive contributions once again proved critical with Belgium struggling to get on the score sheet. Divock Origi eventually got the match winner past Igor Akinfeev, roofing a pass from Edin Hazard in the 88th minute into the top of the goal. It was the second time Belgium took the lead in the 80th minute or later, made possible in part of van Buyten's contributions at the back.

The pace of Belgium's play thus far has suited Belgium well in their two victories. Wilmots has kept his defense deep in order for his four center-back combination not to be caught out on a break. Belgium's build-up play has suffered as a result, but they are one of nine teams to concede one goal or less in the World Cup thus far.

Belgium will try to wrap up the group victory against South Korea, but their victory removes the need to record a result. For that reason, van Buyten could see the bench in the final group game, but with Thomas Vermaelen struggling with his fitness, Wilmots might need to keep his seasoned veteran in place.

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