BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — There is a new bounce in the step of Marouane Fellaini at the World Cup after a bad year at Manchester United. And if all things go Belgium's way, the bounce in his curly hairdo might be gone in a month.
Yes, Fellaini is still on the bench when the match starts, but that's where any comparison with his Premier League seasons ends.
Coming on halfway through the second half against Algeria, the hulking Fellaini reinvigorated Belgium and set in motion a 2-1 come-from-behind win with a backward header glancing off his wild, curly black locks.
If Belgium keeps winning through the July 13 final, those hairs will all be gone.
"I cut it if we win," he said.
Belgium leads Group H and a victory over Russia on Sunday at Rio's Maracana would assure it a place in the second round.
For Fellaini, it offers a positive ending to a disappointing season. He was the only major transfer that David Moyes brought with him from Everton last year. Yet, it never clicked at United — for both. Moyes was fired late in the season and the future of Fellaini under new coach Louis van Gaal is unclear.
"I am the same player as I am at United," Fellaini said Wednesday. Yet, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots can get the best out of him.
Like so often in the sport, it is tough to put a finger on what makes the difference. Sure, Fellaini had an injured wrist that needed surgery through a critical stage of the season, and then could not rescue his team from being sucked down into a vortex.
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