Belgium can justify their outsiders tag and win the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in Brazil, according to attacking midfielder Marouane Fellaini - who said he'll shave off his afro-style hair if they succeed. The 26-year-old put aside a difficult maiden season with Manchester United after a £27.5million transfer from Everton and scored with a superb header in the 2-1 win over Algeria on Monday.
His goal couldn't have been timed better as he seeks to convince new United boss Louis van Gaal that he is worth persevering with when the Dutch national coach takes over the reins at Old Trafford after the FIFA World Cup™ concludes. While the Belgians were slow to get into their rhythm against Algeria, they looked more like the side that went undefeated through their qualifiers by the end of the match when Dries Mertens scored the winner.
"Belgium are capable of winning the World Cup," Fellaini said. "If that proves the case I promise that I will shave my hair."
Fellaini, son of Moroccan parents whose father was a former professional goalkeeper, received rave reviews for his performance when he came on as a substitute against Algeria and with the Belgians trailing 1-0. His equalizer set the stage for Mertens to send Belgium to the top of Group H.
"The Fellaini of Manchester and of Belgium is the same player," he said. "They bought me a year ago. There have been the good moments and the bad ones. I was injured, there was a change of coach, and the team wasn't playing well. We will see next season. I will try to be better."
Fellaini said he hadn't regarded the game against Algeria as a case of proving himself and that his attention is set firmly on helping his country towards their first FIFA World Cup™ title.
"For me the match was not a case of answering my critics," he said. "I don't owe anybody anything. My goal is to score for the team for my family and for the country. I had a difficult season but now I am at the World Cup and I am focussed on the national team."