Teenager is Belgium's World Cup hero

14:30, Jun 23 2014
Sofiane Feghouli
Sofiane Feghouli of Algeria celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team's first goal from a penalty kick against Belgium at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Dries Mertens
Belgium's Dries Mertens celebrates after scoring a goal against Algeria during his side's World Cup Group H football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Mehdi Mostefa
Algeria's Mehdi Mostefa, left, fights for the ball with Belgium's Eden Hazard during their World Cup Group H football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Marouane Fellaini
Belgium's Marouane Fellaini, left, and Dries Mertens celebrate after their World Cup Group H football match against Algeria at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Saphir Taider
Saphir Taider of Algeria and Axel Witsel of Belgium compete for the ball during their World Cup Group H match at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Dries Mertens
Belgium's Dries Mertens, centre, celebrates after scoring a goal during his side's World Cup Group H football match against Algeria at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Hwang Seok-Ho
Hwang Seok-Ho of South Korea consoles Kim Young-Gwon during their World Cup Group H match against Russia at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Victor Fayzulin
Victor Fayzulin of Russia controls the ball against Han Kook-Young (left) and Lee Yong of South Korea during their Group H match at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Ki Sung-yueng
South Korea's Ki Sung-yueng (bottom) fouls Russia's Alexander Samedov during their Group H 1-1 draw at the World Cup.
Vasili Berezutskiy
Russia's Vasili Berezutskiy consoles goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (right) after Akinfeev conceded a goal to South Korea's Lee Keun-ho during their World Cup Group H football match.
Lee Keun-ho
South's Korea's players pile on top of teammate Lee Keun-ho as they celebrate his goal against Russia during their World Cup football match at the Pantanal arena in Cuiaba, Brazil.
Alexander Kerzhakov
Russia's Alexander Kerzhakov (top right) celebrates his goal with teammates during their 1-1 draw with South Korea at the World Cup.
Divock Origi
Belgium's Divock Origi (centre) celebrates with teammates Marouane Fellaini (left) and Kevin De Bruyne a 1-0 win over Russia.
Kevin Mirallas
Belgium's Divock Origi (17) celebrates with Belgium's Kevin Mirallas after scoring a goal during the 2014 World Cup Group H football match against Russia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Divock Origi
Belgium's Divock Origi (17) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a late goal against Russia.
Igor Akinfeev
Belgian teenager Divock Origi scores his team's only goal past Igor Akinfeev of Russia during the Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
Alexey Kozlov
Russia's Alexey Kozlov (right) fights for the ball during his side's 1-0 loss to Belgiumi.
Rafik Halliche
Algeria's Rafik Halliche celebrates his goal against South Korea at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre.
Islam Slimani
Algeria's Islam Slimani (centre) scores a goal next to South Korea's Kim Young-gwon (left) and Hong Jeong-ho during their World Cup Group H football match.
Abdelmoumene Djabou
Algeria's Abdelmoumene Djabou (right) celebrates after scoring a goal as South Korea's Han Kook-young (left) and Ki Sung-yueng react.
Son Heung-Min
A dejected Son Heung-Min of South Korea walks off the pitch after a 4-2 loss to Algeria at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Yacine Brahimi
Algeria's Yacine Brahimi celebrates with Madjid Bougherra, Nabil Bentaleb and Rafik Halliche after scoring a goal against Algeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre.
Carl Medjani
Carl Medjani (far left), Djamel Mesbah, Essaid Belkalem, Rafik Halliche and Medhi Lacen of Algeria celebrate after defeating South Korea 4-2 in Porto Alegre.
Fabio Capello
Head coach Fabio Capello of Russia speaks to Vasily Berezutskiy and Aleksandr Kerzhakov during his side's World Cup Group H match against Algeria at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil.
Vasili Berezutskiy
Russia's Vasili Berezutskiy (left) jumps for the ball with Algeria's Islam Slimani during their 1-1 draw at the Baixada arena in Curitiba.
Islam Slimani
Algeria's Islam Slimani celebrates after scoring a goal against Russia.
Igor Denisov
Igor Denisov of Russia challenges Nabil Bentaleb of Algeria at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil.
Carl Medjani
Carl Medjani of Algeria challenges Oleg Shatov of Russia during their World Cup Group H match.
Alexander Kokorin
Alexander Kokorin of Russia celebrates scoring his team's goal against Algeria with teammate Oleg Shatov on his back.
Marouane Fellaini
Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini challenges South Korea's Kim Young-Gwon during their Group H clash at Arena de Sao Paulo.
Son Heung-mini
South Korea's Son Heung-min (left) and Belgium's Steven Defour fight for the ball.
Son Heung-mini
South Korea's Hong Jeong-Ho and Belgium's Divock Origi compete for possession.
Jan Vertonghen
Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen scores the only goal of the game to give his side a 1-0 win.
Steven Defour
Referee Benjamin Williams shows Belgium's Steven Defour a straight red card for a two-footed tackle.

Teenage striker Divock Origi is Belgium's World Cup hero of the moment.

Just last month, many of his teammates - never mind much of his country's media - didn't even know who he was.

Yet Belgium now has the 19-year-old Origi, who plays in France and whose father represented Kenya, to thank for a place in the last 16 in Brazil.

Divock Origi
RISING STAR: Teenager Divock Origi has become a household name in Belgium after helping his side overcome Russia this morning.

''I didn't know him when he arrived but now I know him,'' Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini said.

After being a late call-up to the World Cup squad as an injury replacement, Origi scored his first international goal to send Belgium through with a 1-0 win over Russia in Group H this morning.

His big moment and crucial late clincher off the bench came at the fabled Maracana Stadium, no less.  

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''I always believed that I could go far but in football you never now. It does come fast,'' Origi said.  

That's for sure. This past season was only his first full season as a professional with French club Lille but he's now scored at a World Cup at one of the game's best-known stadiums and is part of a Belgian team heading for the second round.

''It's very special to score here in this particular stadium,'' he said. ''I'm very happy that we qualified for the next round. I'm very happy. Very special.''

Origi said his father Mike - who is the person who ''guides'' him - was in the crowd at the Maracana to complete the day.

Mike Origi was a Kenyan international striker who moved to Belgium to play and won the league title with Genk.

But despite his father's semi-famous status, the young Origi was little known - even in Belgium - until coach Marc Wilmots decided to pick him as the replacement for injured striker Christian Benteke.

''I love launching young kids,'' Wilmots said. ''He is someone with discipline, someone with speed. Even most of the media didn't know who he was.''

Origi has a flashy blonde streak in his hair, but his new teammates describe him as someone who appears level-headed.

They also say he has got all the attributes to be a very good player for Belgium for a long time.

''He has a lot of quality,'' Manchester United's Fellaini said.

''He can score goals, he's quick, he has a good technique. He is a young player but today he showed everything.''

Switching easily between English, French and Dutch, Origi told reporters - without any hint of arrogance - that he wasn't as surprised as everyone else with the call to go to Brazil.

''I had a feeling that I could be called up a month or two months before the World Cup,'' he said.

''I had a suspicion but I wasn't sure ... so it was good.''

Asked if he had any special messages from friends and family on his cellphone in the hours after the game, the teenager replied casually: ''I didn't switch it on yet.''

AP