Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen struck in the 78th minute to hand ten-man Belgium a 1-0 triumph over South Korea in Curitiba last night.
Belgium’s third straight win at the clinched top spot in Group H for the Red Devils and set up a meeting with the United States in the round of 16 in Salvador on Tuesday.
South Korea needed a win so the onus was on them to attack and they were helped when Steven Defour was sent off for a reckless tackle on Kim Shin-wook in the 44th minute.
Their best chance to score came before the hour mark when Lee Chung-yong’s cross-cum-shot hit the crossbar, with Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois already beaten.
Vertonghen reacted quickest to slot in the winner after a 22-yard shot from substitute Divock Origi was parried into his path by keeper Kim Seung-gyu.
The result eliminated South Korea, who had progressed past the group stages in two of the last three World Cups.