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BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil – Sofiane Feghouli converted a penalty to give Algeria a surprising 1-0 halftime lead against Belgium in the Group H opener on Tuesday.
Feghouli was dragged down in the area by Belgium left back Jan Vertonghen. The Algeria forward calmly slotted the resulting penalty kick to the left of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 25th minute.
Belgium is widely billed as the group favorite, but Algeria dominated possession in the opening minutes, surging forward and moving the ball with flair. Belgium eventually settled down and regained some control of the game.
Otherwise, it was a half of few chances. Defensive midfielder Axel Witsel had Belgium's best two opportunities: powerful 25-yard shots parried by the Algeria goalkeeper in the 21st and 34th minutes.