Anyone who follows the English Premier League knows that Marouane Fellaini endured a miserable first season with Manchester United following his hefty 27 million pound ($45.8 million) transfer to Old Trafford from Everton last summer. Not only did the big midfielder end up warming the bench for most of the campaign, he also failed to score a single goal. And yet five minutes into his World Cup debut, Fellaini did for Belgium what he was unable to do all season for his club. What a goal it was, too, a looping backward header from a fine Kevin De Bruyne cross that left Algeria keeper Rais M’Bolhi with no chance. That goal in the 70th-minute set the Red Devils on their way, and Dries Mertens’ thunderbolt ten minutes later sealed the points for Marc Wilmots’ men, who stand alone at the top of Group H with 3 points.
In an interview with FIFA.com, Fellaini says he knew he could be the difference after his team fell behind, 1-0, in the first half. "I always believe," the 26-year-old said, "and I thought that, yes, if the coach gives me the call, I can help us win this match. One thing I know is that if my teammates put crosses in the box for me, I can score goals. And you saw it today. Three times the ball came in for me and every time I won the header. I could have had a hat trick.”
Fellaini noted that each of Belgium’s substitutes, including Mertens, Divock Origi and himself, changed the game. "Everyone can see that it was guys who came off the bench who made the difference today,” he said, adding: "That's always possible with this team anyway because you know that we have a lot of strength throughout the squad. It's not just about the first 11 with us. And although it was me and the other two today, there are others who stayed on the bench who can be big and important players for Belgium at this World Cup."