Algeria odds to qualify from Group H

Algeria are optimistic they can create history and qualify from a World Cup group for the first time.

Manager: Vahid Halilhodzic
World Cup best:
Group Stage (1982, 1986, 2010)
How they qualified:
African play-offs

Algeria eased through their World Cup qualifying group, slipping up just once away to a decent Mali side.

They progressed into the play-off stage, where they met Burkina Faso for a place in Brazil, however they lost the first leg 3-2 in Ouagadougou.

The experienced Madjid Bougherra scored the only goal in the home match though, meaning Algeria progressed on away goals.

Star player: Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia)

Injuries have halted the progress of Algeria’s best player in recent years, however Sofiane Feghouli is fit for the World Cup.

Having opted to represent Algeria over France, Feghouli is key to how Algeria play and at 24 still has the best years ahead of him.

One to watch: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham)

Nabil Bentaleb featured heavily for Spurs since the appointment of Tim Sherwood and like Feghouli opted to represent Algeria over France.

At just 19 he is likely to be a feature in the Algeria side for years, even if at the 2014 World Cup he is used as a substitute.

Strengths
One of the more technically gifted African sides, the trio of Feghouli, Islam Slimani and El Arabi Soudani forged an impressive understanding.

Bougherra has developed into one of the better central defenders in African football and the captain was excellent in 2010 for Algeria.

Weaknesses
Algeria struggle from set pieces, with the majority of their goals conceded in qualifying a result of a corner or a free-kick.

In 2010 they failed to score a goal at the World Cup, and you wouldn’t back them to breach either of Belgium or Russia.

How far can they go?
The draw could have been a lot worse for Vahid Halilhodzic and their match with Russia will determine if they have a chance of getting out of Group H.

Squad*

Goalkeepers: Azzedine Doukha, Rais Mbolhi, Cedric Si Mohamed, Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche

Defenders: Essaid Belkalem, Madjid Bougherra, Liassine Cadamuro, Faouzi Ghoulam, Rafik Halliche, Nacereddine Khoualed, Aissa Mandi, Carl Medjani, Djamel Mesbah, Mehdi Mostef

Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb, Ryad Boudebouz, Yacine Brahimi, Abdelmoumene Djabou, Feghouli, Adlene Guedioura, Foued Kadir, Amir Karaoui, Mehdi Lacen, Riyad Mahrez, Saphir Taider, Hassan Yebda

Forwards: Rafik Djebbour, Nabil Ghilas, Islam Slimani, El Arabi Soudani

*Squad will be cut by seven to 23 before the start of the tournament

Group H
Belgium
Algeria
Russia
South Korea

Fixtures

Tuesday 17th June: Belgium vs. Algeria 17:00
Sunday 22nd June: South Korea vs. Algeria 20:00
Thursday 26nd June: Algeria vs. Russia 21:00

Lewis Jones has over 5 years experience in web publishing, having worked at a number of well known UK facing sports websites. He can be reached at Google+ for more information.

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