WORLD CUP FORECAST: Group H – Will Algeria take it up to their more-fancied rivals?

Algeria’s fourth World Cup campaign, as with the three previous ones, comes with little expectation from the general football public.

Algeria’s fourth World Cup campaign, as with the three previous ones, comes with little expectation from the general football public.

The only people who would really give Les Fennecs any hope in hell would be the loyal Algerian fans who continue to dare to dream.

Their 2010 efforts were not too shabby when losing 1-0 to Slovenia, drawing 0-0 with England and again losing narrowly to the USA (1-0) in South Africa but their failure to score a goal meant they finished 28th of the 32 teams who competed.

Algeria’s African qualifying campaign saw them concede just four goals in six outings, while improving their scoring record with 13, before edging Burkina Faso on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate in the play-off.

In 2014, Algeria’s chances are not much brighter than four years ago but one thing is for sure, they will leave no stone unturned in attempting to force their Group H opposition to the brink by playing an organized and disciplined game style which looks to hinder their opponents’ attacking creativity.

Algeria

Manager: Vahid Halilhodzic

Fixtures: Belgium - June 17 (Belo Horizonte), South Korea - June 22 (Porto Alegre), Russia - June 26 (Curitiba)

Past outings against group opponents: Algeria have played Belgium twice for one win and one draw. The most recent meeting resulted in a 3-1 win to the Rode Duivels in a friendly in 2003.

The Algerians have taken on South Korea just once for a 2-0 friendly win in 1985.

Algeria and Russia have met once in the past for a 2-2 friendly draw.

Key players: Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia), Madjid Bougherra (unattached), Rafik Halliche (Academica), El Arabi Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb)

World Cup utopia: Getting to the knockout phase.

Doomsday scenario: Failing to record a point in Group H.

Qualified by virtue of: Winning CAF play-off qualifier over Burkina Faso (3-3 on aggregate, away goals).

Best result at a World Cup: Group stage (1982, 1986 & 2010)

tribal’s forecast:

19 of Algeria’s final World Cup 23 actually ply their trades in European leagues which is quite surprising when pondering their squad.

Immediately you think of players such as captain Bougherra (who is currently without a club), Valencia midfielder Feghouli and former Fulham defender Halliche who had an impressive 2010 cup.

But the second tier of Algerian players are much lesser known which includes the likes of Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon) and Tottenham starlet Nabil Bentaleb.

These types of players will come to Brazil with limited pressure placed on them and that freedom could implore them to play without fear.

With a nice blend of players around the 27-to-30 years of age mark mixed with those under 24, the Fennec Foxes have enough knowledge and experience to add to the youthful energy which will make them more exciting to watch than in the past.

European nations Belgium and Russia will expect to easily brush aside the North Africans, while Asia’s South Korea will also rate their chances, but Algeria will be determined to do everything in their power to make life difficult for whoever it is they come up against.

Brazil 2014 provides a great opportunity for Vahid Halilhodzic’s Algeria to produce three commendable performances in order to continue their improvement on the world stage and although they will struggle to get out of Group H, they will certainly give a strong account of themselves.

Prediction: Group stage elimination.

 
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