The Maracana is a stage where dreams are made, names are written into history, moments that you want to relive time and again created. So, the stage was indeed set for Belgium and Russia to put on a footballing show for the ages, like so many teams have done already at this FIFA World Cup 2014.
However, what transpired for over 87 minutes was some drab, unexciting, you-can-definitely-take-your-eyes-off-it football from the two European sides who rather cancelled each other out, before a trademark run down the line and cut-back from Eden Hazard set up 19-year-old Divock Origi to score in the most iconic of stadiums in world football.
The win, another far from convincing one, but a victory nonetheless, for Belgium means they are now through to the last 16 from Group H, with Russia's hopes of qualification, having picked up just one point from two games, hanging on the precipice.
It was a game lacking in pace, creativity and any real excitement with Belgium, despite holding the aces in possession, not troubling Igor Akinfeev, while Russia had the much better chances, even if their style of play was not one that made you sit up and go "wow now that's some football."
Marc Wilmots brought in last game's game-winners Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens at the expense of Tottenham duo Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli, with another Spurs man making way for Thomas Vermaelen at left-back. However, Vermaelen's game would be cut shot with a knee injury he picked up during the warm up, with Vertonghen coming back in on the half hour.
While Fellaini failed to make the same impact he made when he came on against Algeria, Mertens was by far Belgium's best player, constantly posing a threat on the right and giving Russia left-back Dmitry Kombarov the run around. For all the brilliant wing play from Mertens, though, the Napoli man just failed to provide the killer final ball time and again, as Romelu Lukaku was left a frustrated figure for a second straight game, with Hazard also unable to provide the magic touch.
Russia, who took a while to get into the game, looked much more dangerous with their sporadic attacks, with Victor Fayzulin and Maksim Kanunnikov forcing decent saves from Thibaut Courtois, something the Belgium side, despite all their possession did not manage to do in the first 45.
Kanunnikov also had a decent penalty shout turned down, after going down under a daft challenge from Toby Alderweireld, with Russia also unlucky not to go a goal up at halftime, after Alexander Kokorin, preferred again to goal-hero from the last game Alexander Kerzhakov, unable to direct a free header from six yards into the back of the net.
If the first half lacked intensity, the second half was a lot more dull and kudos-if-you-can-stay-awake, with neither team even thinking about getting out of first gear. Such was the lack of goalmouth action, that the commentator was forced to raise his voice levels at corners, in hope of seeing something resembling a chance, but both Russia and Belgium stubbornly decided to treat the capacity crowd at the Maracana to some is-this-what-you-call-football football.
Russia were a little more proactive going forward in the second 45, with Belgium despite a win taking them into the last 16, surprisingly happy to sit back and settle for a draw. Wilmots only made one change, a like-for-like one, bringing on Divock Origi for Lukaku, while the likes of Kevin Mirallas, Adnan Januzaj and Nacer Chadli stayed on the bench; and when Mirallas did come on, in the final 15 minutes, he came closest for Belgium in the entire match, hitting the base of the post from a freekick with Akinfeev well beaten.
However, maybe Belgium were lulling Russia into a false sense of security, looking like they were happy with a point, before suddenly cranking up the pressure in the final five minutes, which they did to good effect. There were a couple of chances which went begging, with Mirallas and Hazard going close, before Origi had his moment in the sun with an assured finish to the roof of the net.