HAZARD: KEEP ON WINNING

With Belgium having overcome a difficult test from Russia on Sunday to make it two wins out of two and qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup, Eden Hazard reflected on the game and his own contribution.

Hazard was joined by Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois in becoming the first players to guarantee Chelsea representation in the last 16 of the tournament when a late goal gave Belgium a 1-0 victory.

It had been an even and at times sterile encounter in the Maracana until Hazard found his best form in the last 10 minutes to frequently trouble the Russian defence, go close with one shot and then eventually set up the 88th-minute winner for Divock Origi who had come on for Lukaku.

‘It was a difficult match but we are very happy with the result,’ said the Chelsea Player of the Year.

‘The victory means we have already qualified and still have one match to go in the group and we will now aim for three wins in this group campaign.

‘We didn’t play a very good match but the last 10 minutes were better and maybe the Russian defence got tired and we got more space for the substitutes, who were fresh, to exploit.’

Hazard, who started the match, had the energy to run at the Russians again and again in the closing stages.

‘I felt fit,’ he said. ‘I’m in good shape and as I often make the difference towards the end of the match it shows I am still fresh.’

MEMBERSHIPS ON SALE WITH POINTS BONUS

Chelsea FC membership packages for the 2014/15 season are still on sale and fans who join before midnight on 31 July will receive five bonus loyalty points.

There are four different tiers of membership on sale with supporters enjoying a fantastic choice of offers and a variety of benefits to suit individual requirements, so sign up now to ensure the best opportunity to secure tickets for all the big matches.

Members pay £5 less than the general public for match tickets at Stamford Bridge, with a priority booking period for every home and away game, and the club will alert you when that period begins to allow you to make the maximum use of that time.

Members are allocated 40 per cent of away ticket allocation and given priority access for every home game, while your Chelsea Team Card allows you to accumulate bonus points towards discounts on purchases in the Megastore and with selected partners. You will need this membership Team Card to buy match tickets.

Our members’ loyalty point system means that even much sought-after tickets, like domestic cup finals and European semi-finals and finals, will be available to those members with the most loyalty points over the course of the season.

During the 2014/15 season there will continue to be a monthly members-only prize draw, with a host of amazing Chelsea products and experiences to be won. It makes sense to get closer to Chelsea.

The tiers of membership are as follows:

True Blue Ticket Only (£25 for one season or £48 for two seasons) – if it’s priority access to match tickets for every Chelsea game you want, this is the tier of membership for you. Members pay £5 less than non-members for match tickets so you only need to watch Chelsea five times and you will recoup your membership fee.

True Blue Magazine (£35) – as well as those vital tickets, if you want the famous Chelsea magazine delivered to your door each month during the season, this is the option for you. With the magazine retailing at £3.25 this tier offers unbelievable value.

True Blue Original (£45) – if you want the full works, including the new specially designed membership collector’s box including the 2014/15 Chelsea yearbook, an exclusive member’s DVD plus a Chelsea member’s calendar, as well as the magazine and ticket access, go for this tier.

True Blue Junior (£15) – Chelsea’s young fans are our future and we want to make it as easy, and as cheap, as possible for them to get close to their club. Junior membership for the 2014/15 season costs just £15 per child, with a yet again a fantastic package and in addition to offering the opportunity to watch the Blues play live, CFC junior membership offers many other great benefits.

True Blue Disabled – to apply for a disabled supporter membership for season 2014/2015, please email disability@chelseafc.com with a name and address for an application form to be sent to you or call the disability line on 020 7915 1950 to request an application form.

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BELGIUM ADVANCE WITH SECOND WIN

Belgium remain top of World Cup Group H after an Eden Hazard-inspired win over Russia at the Maracana.

The Chelsea Player of the Year had endured a quiet afternoon in Rio before sparking to life three minutes from time, cutting in from the left, getting to the bye-line and pulling back for substitute Divock Origi to fire a late winner that takes the Red Devils through to the knockout stages.

Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku were also starters for the Belgians, who for long periods struggled with the high expectations placed upon them, as they did in their opener against Algeria in the week.

Lukaku was withdrawn by Belgium manager Marc Wilmots 11 minutes after the break with the scores goalless, to be replaced by Origi, but neither side could create a meaningful opportunity, with Courtois enjoying a quieter second period having made two decent saves in the first half.

Romelu-Lukaku - Chelsea

Another substitute, Kevin Mirallas, hit a post with a late free-kick, while Hazard also went close as the Belgians began to threaten in the closing stages, the Chelsea man eventually turning supplier for Origi on 87 minutes. In stoppage time another run from the winger created a chance for Mirallas, but his low shot was easily saved by Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

The win takes Belgium on to six points after their two games, with South Korea and Algeria to meet later on Sunday.

Chelsea’s next World Cup involvement comes on Monday, with Spanish trio Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta and Cesc Fabregas preparing to face Australia in their final group game in Curitiba before flying home, while later on our Brazilian trio of Oscar, Willian and Ramires face Samuel Eto’o’s already eliminated Cameroon in Brasilia. A win should confirm Brazil at the top of Group A.

NIGERIA SECURE FIRST WIN; GHANA AND GERMANY SHARE THE POINTS

John Mikel Obi and Kenneth Omeruo helped Nigeria stay in contention for the knockout stages with a win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Saturday’s late game at the World Cup, after Christian Atsu had featured well for Ghana in a gripping draw with Germany.

Nigeria now need one point from their final game although that will be against Argentina who have already qualified thanks to two wins. They will also progress if Iran fail to beat Bosnia who are out,

Stoke City’s Peter Odemwingie scored the only goal of the game for Nigeria past club team-mate Amir Begovic in the first half, with Mikel having dragged an early shot wide. Bosnia and Herzegovina did put the African champions’ defence under pressure and Omeruo (pictured below) played a significant part in them keeping a second clean sheet, although they were fortunate late on when Eden Dzeko hit a post. The Man City striker also fell foul of an earlier controversial offside call.

Omeruo Nigeria

Nigeria, whose best work was done on the counter-attack, left Victor Moses on the bench.

Andre Schurrle was also an unused sub for Germany in an earlier game but Atsu again started wide on the right for Ghana.

It was also the second game for these nations and both remain in the shake-up for qualification to the knockout stages with Germany leading on four points and Ghana with one.

Atsu (pictured top), who had caught the eye in Ghana’s opening game defeat by the United States, was as lively and threatening as anyone on pitch in Fortaleza tonight during a goalless first half. The winger’s cross from the right was blasted off-target by Asamoah Gyan who should have done better, and then Atsu himself shot powerfully on target from distance but saw it well saved.

Germany broke the deadlock with 50 minutes played, Mario Gotze stooping to head in Thomas Muller’s diagonal ball clipped into the area.

Ghana’s leveller less than four minutes later came from an even better header from a similar delivery, Harrison Afful with the supply and Andre Ayew with the finish.

The Africans went ahead on 62 minutes, Gyan smashing the ball past Manuel Neuer from a Sulley Muntari defence-splitter.

Ghana could have extended the lead before just-introduced substitute Miroslav Klose equalised from close range with 20 minutes to go, the striker joining Ronaldo as all-time World Cup top scorer on 15 goals.

Atsu, who spent last season on loan at Vitesse, had his evening come to an end soon after, the 22-year-old substituted on 72 minutes.

Both sides threatened on several occasions late on to win a game that was up there with the most entertaining in this World Cup so far, but Ghana now have to beat Portugal on Thursday to keep their hopes alive. Germany play the USA at the same time.

Nigeria finish their group games on Wednesday.

GHANA AND GERMANY SHARE THE POINTS

Andre Schurrle remained on the bench for Germany but Christian Atsu featured well for Ghana in a gripping 2-2 draw in World Cup group G on Saturday night.

It was the second game for these nations and both remain in contention for qualification to the knockout stages with Germany leading on four points and Ghana with one.

Atsu (pictured above left), who had caught the eye in Ghana’s opening game defeat by the United States, was as lively and threatening as anyone on pitch in Fortaleza tonight during a goalless first half. The winger’s cross from the right was blasted off-target by Asamoah Gyan who should have done better, and then Atsu himself shot powerfully on target from distance but saw it well saved.

Germany broke the deadlock with 50 minutes played, Mario Gotze stooping to head in Thomas Muller’s diagonal ball clipped into the area.

Ghana’s leveller less than four minutes later came from an even better header from a similar delivery, Harrison Afful with the supply and Andre Ayew with the finish.

The Africans went ahead on 62 minutes, Gyan smashing the ball past Manuel Neuer from a Sulley Muntari defence-splitter.

Ghana could have extended the lead before just-introduced substitute Miroslav Klose equalised from close range with 20 minutes to go, the striker joining Ronaldo as all-time World Cup top scorer on 15 goals.

Atsu, who spent last season on loan at Vitesse, had his evening come to an end soon after, the 22-year-old substituted on 72 minutes.

Both sides threatened on several occasions late on to win a game that was up there with the most entertaining in this World Cup so far, but Ghana now have to beat Portugal on Thursday to keep their hopes alive. Germany play the USA at the same time.