WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Algeria

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Algeria

COACH – Vahid Halilhodzic
BEST SHOWING – Group stages 1982, 1986, 2010
QUALIFICATION – Defeated Burkina Faso in the CAF Playoffs
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 2500/1 (Stan James)
FIXTURES
June 17th – Belgium (1700 BST, Belo Horizonte, ITV)
June 22nd –
S Korea (2000 BST, Porto Alegre, ITV)
June 26th – Russia (2100 BST, Sao Paulo, ITV)

 

Button Belgium Button Russia Button South Korea

 

Algeria qualified on away goals for Brazil although they’ll argue the Burkina Faso team had a penalty that should never have been awarded in the process. That loss in Burkina Faso was their most recent as the Algerians have warmed up in style defeating Armenia, Slovenia and Romania.

Halilhodzic will now go into the group with the hope that Algeria can finally qualify for the knockout stages, their previous best showing in 1982 spoiled by a German-Austrian alliance.

The Fennecs were one of only two nations who failed to score in the 2010 finals but in qualifying for Brazil only Ghana, Ivory Coast and Egypt netted more goals.

Halilhodzic likes his teams to play disciplined, attacking football, playing a pressing game with most of the attacks coming from the flanks. He’ll play a 4-3-3 formation.

Like with most African sides goalkeeper is a weakness, Rais M’Bolhi is at best competent and most of the goals Algeria conceded in qualifying were down to blunders between the sticks.

Ex-Owl Madjid Bougherra captains the side and he’ll be in the heart of defence alongside Rafik Halliche or Carl Medjani. Djamel Mesbah or Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam can play on the left with Liassine Cadamuro-Bentaiba the possible right back.

Hassan Yebda, Medhi Lacen and Tottenham youngster Nabil Bentaleb should make up the middle three with the attacking trio being Sofiane Feghouli, Islam Slimani and El Arbi Hillel Soudani.

The Algerian squad mostly ply their trade in Europe with just four of their players (one being the free agent Bougherra) playing outside the continent.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

09 WORLD CUP BENTALEBLike a fair few Algerian players, Bentaleb was born in France and represented Les Bleus at under 19 level. He was courted by the Algerian FA however and made his debut against Slovenia for the Fennecs.

A product of Lille’s academy, he was picked up by Tottenham in 2012 and made his debut for Spurs against Southampton just before Christmas.

Bentaleb has done well in the opportunities he’s had for Spurs and could be the quality central midfielder Algeria have been crying out for for a long time.

Strong in the tackle and a midfielder who likes to keep it simple, Bentaleb could be the man who feeds the attacking trio and an impressive World Cup could cement his place in Tottenham’s plans.

 

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

The weakest side in a weak group, no-one’s expecting anything from the Algerians and that’ll suit them just fine. Halilhodzic has the ability to get the best out of his players and get them playing above themselves – he may need them to do that.

Like the South Koreans, they look very vulnerable against set pieces and the goalkeeper isn’t a reassuring presence either. They can, if given the chance, keep possession and play much more attractive stuff than what was witnessed in 2010.

Bougherra is the leader of a promising young side and he’ll need to fall back on all of his experience to guide a talented if inexperienced side to the latter stages.

It’s unlikely they’ll get to the last 16 but for some reason I can’t completely write them off.

 

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VERDICT

They’re going home early but unlike 2010 they will score a goal and maybe even win a game.

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Lahk-Dan Belloumi (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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