Soccer-Mertens impresses but Belgium and Russia 0-0 at halftime


RIO DE JANEIRO, June 22 (Reuters) - Livewire Dries Mertens did his best to spark Belgium into life against Russia in World Cup Group H on Sunday but both defences were on top in a goalless first half.

The marauding Mertens was a constant threat down the right flank, firing into side netting and another effort across the face of goal as Belgium seek a victory that will secure a place in the last 16.

Russia had what appeared to be a decent penalty claim turned down when Toby Alderweireld seemed to catch Maksim Kanunnikov just inside the area and missed a great chance just before the interval when Alexander Kokorin miscued a header wide. (Writing by Justin Palmer; editing by Ed Osmond)

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