Powerful striker Lukaku started for Belgium in their opener. The 21-year-old powerhouse, however, was unable to break down a stingy Algerian rearguard and was eventually withdrawn in the 58th minute. His performance was mature and vigorous, but he was up against a team determined to sit on their lead.
The man who replaced him is also in the running for the Hyundai Young Player award. Divock Origi, a replacement in the squad for injured Christian Benteke, made an immediate impact. He dragged the Africans, who featured young gun Nabil Bentaleb in midfield, out of position with his lively running and helped carve out two goals as the Belgians stormed back to take all three points. It was only Origi’s third cap for his country and he may well have earned himself a starting spot from here on out.
Four more Hyundai Young Player Award candidates may have the opportunity to see action on June 18. The competition’s youngest player, Cameroon’s Fabrice Olinga, who only recently turned 18, would surely love to be involved as his country chase a vital victory against Croatia. He saw no time in the Indomitable Lions’ opening loss to Mexico, but the young striker may well get his chance as his team are in need of goals. On the other side of the pitch in Manaus, Croatian youngsters Mateo Kovacic and Ante Rebic will look to influence the outcome after both performed so well in the opening-day loss to Brazil.
The promising Dutch duo of Memphis Depay and Terence Kongolo saw no action in the demolition of Spain. Both will be keen to show their stuff in the second match against Australia in Porto Alegre, but Louis van Gaal is unlikely to switch around a line-up that impressed just days ago. Young Aussie No9 Adam Taggart didn’t play against Chile and could potentially feature as well.