SAO PAULO, June 26 (Reuters) - Belgium strolled into the World Cup last 16 on Thursday after Jan Vertonghen's late goal gave them a 1-0 win over a South Korean side unable to take advantage of a 45-minute numerical advantage and who exit the tournament.
Belgium made seven changes from the team that beat Russia to secure their progress and, though Dries Mertens fired their best chance over, were in cruise control until Steven Defour was sent off for a two-footed lunge at Kim Shin-wook just before halftime.
South Korea, needing a win for any chance to progress from Group H, eventually built momentum against their outnumbered rivals but rarely looked like scoring and were caught out in the 78th-minute when Vertonghen banged in the rebound after Divock Origi's shot was parried by goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.
Belgium top the group on nine points and will play Group G runners up the United States, while Algeria drew 1-1 with Russia to take second spot on four and earn a meeting with Germany. Russia finished with two points with Korea on one. (Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)