Divock Origi: Player Profile

Belgium’s Surprise Package 

Personal information 
Full name: Divock Okoth Origi
Date of birth: 18 April 1995
Age: 19
Place of birth: Ostend, Belgium
Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position: Striker

Club information 
Current team: Lille
Number: 27

Youth career 
2010–2012: Lille

Senior career 
2012– Lille: 40 Appearances, 6 goals

National team 
2010: Belgium U15 2 Appearances, 0 goals
2010–2011: Belgium U16 9 Appearances, 1 goal
2011: Belgium U17 1 Appearance, 0 goals
2012–2013: Belgium U19 19 Appearances, 10 goals
2014– Belgium U21 1 Appearances, 0 goals
2014– Belgium 7 Appearances, 1 goal

At just 19, Origi is having a breakout World Cup campaign for Belgium. Added to the squad only after an injury knocked Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke off the roster, Origi came off the bench to play 95 minutes in Belgium’s first three games, scoring a rocket in the 88th minute to help his country beat Russia 1–0 and make an indelible mark at his first World Cup.

Origi became the youngest goalscorer of the the 2014 World Cup, and the first player of Kenyan ethnicity to score at a FIFA World Cup finals game and the youngest goalscorer in Belgian World Cup history at 19 years.

Moments after sending his team to the knockout stages of their first World Cup since 2002, such guidance was obvious as Origi remained admirably calm and grounded while addressing the media in near-perfect English.

Marc Wilmots did what everyone seemed to be asking him to do and started the teenaged Divock Origi against USA, only for the Belgian to spend 90 minutes being foiled by Tim Howard like the rest of his team-mates.

However, Belgium eventually found a way past the American goalkeeper as they scraped a 2-1 passage into the quarter-finals after goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. Four years ago, watching as Spain passed their way to a World Cup triumph in South Africa, the 15-year-old Divock Origi could only dream about one day scoring a winning goal in the tournament himself.

Then a prospect at Lille's famed youth academy, Origi was light years away from such status, but a dramatic late strike against Russia at the Maracana capped a meteoric 18-month rise to prominence. Involvement in Belgium's World Cup squad seemed no more than a pipe dream - Origi played no part in qualifying and did not have a senior cap to his name - until Christian Benteke injured his achilles tendon in April.

Team-mate Toby Alderweireld freely admits he knew almost nothing about Origi before Marc Wilmots announced his final group for the tournament, but insists he has been impressed by what he has seen since. Many more know about him now.

He’s got an excellent technique, he’s quick, he’s very strong in the duel and he can make a game changing moment during any time of a match. The talent was always there. It's in his blood. Origi comes from a big football family.

Three of his uncles played with distinction in his native Kenya and he is the son of Mike Origi, a former Kenyan national team member. He also played professionally between 1984 and 2006, largely in Belgium. His Racing Genk team won the Belgian Pro League in 1998–99.

Origi was born in Ostende while his dad was playing there. After starting football early on, he joined the Genk Academy - where he played with Thibaut Courtois - and he was already one of the best players there. He featured for every Belgian youth team since he was 14.

It was obvious that his future was bright. Lille won the race to sign him when he was just 15. Eden Hazard took him under his wing and Origi blossomed with the French club. Rudi Garcia, now Roma manager, gave him his chance with the first team after he impressed for the club's reserves, and he scored on his full Ligue 1 debut against Troyes six minutes after coming on.

Last season he grew in prominence at Stade Pierre-Mauroy but made 20 of his 32 appearances in all competitions off the bench, scoring five goals and adding one assist. He averaged just under 43 minutes per game, mainly coming off the bench as Lille finished third in Ligue 1, securing Champions League football.

Despite his good first full season in French football, he was preparing to watch the World Cup on TV. He had just made his debut with the U-21 national team when Marc Wilmots rang him up to tell him he would be in his 30-man squad to replace the injured Christian Benteke. Origi made the 23, and the rest is history.

Everything is moving so quickly for him. While Romelu Lukaku is struggling, Divock is impressing. He feels no pressure and has no fear. He takes on opponents, runs in the space in behind and holds the ball up well. He is solid in the air and in the duels, efficient, quick and good on the ball, too, when he needs to dribble. He still needs to improve, and this World Cup has already made him a much better player.

It's no surprise that all the big European clubs are looking at him - and Liverpool are leading the race. Going to the World Cup meant that he could not get to his Baccalaureate exams. He will have the opportunity to take them again in September, but it appears he's already passed one big test this summer in Brazil.