The second semi-final at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations is expected to be a pretty tight affair. Algeria were powerful through the group stage and have really looked quite a strong force to be reckoned with. The Super Eagles made pretty hard work of getting the better of outsiders South Africa in their quarter-final match. Read our Algeria v Nigeria betting tips for more.
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 12th, 2019 at 7.30 p.m.)
Algeria powered their way to three straight wins in the group stage and they didn’t concede a single goal in that run of fixtures either. The Algerians averaged two goals per game in their three group stage games. They kept up their strong form when they hit the round of sixteen when they were up against Guinea. The Desert Foxes ran to a 3-0 win. That moved them ahead to a quarter-final tie against the Ivory Coast. That presented them with their toughest challenge of the campaign so far. Sofiane Feghouli opened the scoring for Algeria but they were pegged back in the second half and Algeria had to book their semi final place via a penalty shoot out.
The Desert Foxes are on an extended streak of undefeated form. They are W8 D3 in their last eleven games. They have suffered just one defeat in their last fourteen, which is highly impressive stuff. The goal that they conceded against the Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals is the only goal that they have shipped at the tournament, so they are not going to give up much. Top scorer for them in this year’s competition is Adam Ounas who has tallied the three goals. They have Riyad Mahrez and Youcef Balaili right behind on two apiece. This is only the second time that Algeria have been to the semi-finals since being crowned champions in 1990.
The last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in World Cup 2018 qualifying
Nigeria are W6 D1 L1 against Algeria in the head to head
Niger have won five of the last six meetings
Algeria trail 1-3 in previous Afcon games
Nigeria will probably have been highly frustrated with themselves after the close of the group stage. That’s because they only managed second place having started as favourites to win it. They were beaten to the punch by Madagascar. In the round of sixteen, they were up against Cameroon, the holders. That was a game which swung back and forth drastically. Nigeria blew a lead and had to end up chasing the game. The Super Eagles got a 3-2 success to put them through to a quarter-final fixture against South Africa.
South Africa started as a fairly hefty outsider for this tournament and were poor through the group stage. But Nigeria made hard work of beating them, taking a 2-1 success in the end. Nigeria’s top scorer is Odion Ighalo with three goals so far. Nigeria have produced a W6 D1 L2 record in their nine games. Each of their last five wins have all been by a one-goal margin. They have failed to pick up a clean sheet in any of their last three played now, which will be a little bit of a concern. Nigeria actually have a good record at the Africa Cup of Nations as they have only failed to finish at least third in three of their past seventeen previous appearances in the Finals.
Algeria are the ones who are carrying the stronger form without question. The Super Eagles have looked a bit patchy and they don’t look to be a tremendous threat, certainly not in attack. Algeria have nothing to fear here and can collect the victory, likely with a clean sheet in tow as well.
13th July 2019 / lee - Category: International Football Betting
Both secured good solid victories in their round of sixteen ties, where neither conceded. Algeria are currently second-favourites to win the tournament outright, which leaves the Elepehants as big underdogs for this game. However, Ivory Coast have been edging the head to head against the Algerians. Read our Ivory Coast v Algeria betting tips for more.
Ivory Coast 3/1
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 9th, 2019 at 7:14 p.m.)
The Ivory Coast only finished in second place in the group stage of this year’s Cup of Nations. That was behind Morocco who the Elephants lost to. They took wins over South Africa and Namibia in the group. That sent the Ivory Coast through to the round of sixteen where they were up against Mali. That was a tight game with the Ivory Coast winning 1-0 thanks to a lone goal from Wilfried Zaha. That leaves him as their top scorer in the competition with the two goals.
The Elephants have won four of their last five games played now and during the 2019 calendar year, they are W7 L2 from nine games. The two defeats which they have taken in that sequence of games were both by a 1-0 scoreline. Interestingly in their last four wins, two have been by a 1-0 scoreline and the other two were 4-1 successes. They were the championship winners back in 2015 but fell at the group stage in their defence two years later.
All six previous meetings have gone over 2.5 goals
Ivory Coast are W3 D2 L1 in the head to head against Algeria
Both teams have scored in each of the last five meetings
Ivory Coast are unbeaten in their last four against Algeria (W2 D2)
The Desert Foxes sailed through their round of sixteen tie against Guinea. They romped to a 3-0 success and were pretty much unchallenged there. They had also won Group C of this year’s competition with three straight wins. They scored six unanswered goals in the group stage in their three games, so that is no goal conceded in this campaign from them at all. With Egypt having taken an early tumble, Algeria are right up there as second favourite to win outright.
Algeria have Adam Ounas on three goals for the tournament, making him the joint top scorer. Riyad Mahrez has weighed in with a couple as well. It is really back since the middle of November last year that Algeria have been in hot form. They have peaked just at the right time with having gone W8 D2 in their last ten games. They are currently on a five-match winning streak and they scored at least two goals in four of those five wins. The last time they made it past the quarters was in 1990 when they went on to win.
Algeria look very good value for money at the moment. They are on a fantastic run of form, aren’t conceding and are up against an Ivory Coast side who don’t look to be a major threat in front of goal. Algeria to win to nil.
11th July 2019 / lee - Category: International Football Betting
Algeria delivered a group win with three wins out of three and they are one of the front runners to lift the title this year. After such a convincing group stage campaign they are favourites to get through this round of sixteen tie. They are taking on Guinea who came through as one of the best third-placed teams. Read our Algeria v Guinea betting tips for more.
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 4th, 2019 at 5:13 p.m.)
There were no troubles for Algeria in their group stage campaign. They opened with a 2-0 win over Kenya, took out Senegal 1-0 in what was on paper their toughest match, before easing to a big win over Tanzania. That is six unanswered goals which they came up with in their group stage campaign. So it all came up roses for them. Their top scorer in the tournament after the three games is Adam Ounas with two goals.
Former Leicester City players Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani have both netted a goal each. Alergia are currently on a four-match winning streak at the moment and they are undefeated in their last nine now (W7 D2). They have lost just one of their last twelve, so they are a major force. They have picked up four clean sheets in their last six games and they are currently on a nine-match scoring streak. So they will be fully expected to make progress through this tie.
Algeria beat Guinea 2-1 in June 2017 in a friendly.
Guinea are W2 D2 L1 in their five previous games against Algeria
Guinea have only failed to score in one of their previous five against Algeria
The last two meetings have both gone over 2.5 goals
Guinea, who had no form behind them coming into the tournament, had some struggles in the group stage. They picked up a point in their opening game against Madagascar, before losing narrowly to Nigeria. It was then three points which they earned from their final group stage game, thanks to a 2-0 success over Burundi. That win snapped a long eight-match winless streak of form that they had been on (D4 L4).
Guinea have scored in three of their last four games now, so that is some kind of positive that they can look at. Their win over Burundi gave them their first clean sheet in six though. Guinea failed to qualify for the 2017 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations but they have been to the quarterfinals in four of their last five appearances in the tournament. Can they pull off a big upset and make it back to the final eight?
Algeria should get through this round of sixteen tie, as they are the ones with the extra touches of quality in their squad. It may be worth backing Guinea to get something on the board at least in the game, having looked at the head to head. Algeria to win & both teams to score.
6th July 2019 / lee - Category: International Football Betting
Tanzania will be going home after this, even if they win. They don’t have any points on the board and can beat neither Kenya or Senegal in the match head to heads, having lost against both of them. Algeria will be moving through as the group winners. Read our Tanzania v Algeria betting tips for more.
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on June 30th, 2019 at 8:09 p.m.)
Tanzania have only a bit of pride left to play for. They opened with a 2-0 defeat in a difficult game against Senegal. Then they had twice taken the lead against Kenya, but couldn’t hold on for even a precious point out of that fixture, falling 3-2. So if they were to win this and the game between Senegal and Kenya produced a losing team, because of having lost against both of those, Tanzania won’t beat either of them in the head to head tiebreaker.
So it’s all over bar the shouting for them. This is just their second ever participation in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations. Their first one, back in 1980 ended in a group stage exit, taking just one point. Tanzania have lost three of their last four games now (D1) and since September last year have managed just the two successes (W2 D2 L5). So they don’t look too capable of pulling off an upset really.
The two last met in 2015 with Algeria taking a 7-0 win
Algeria are W1 D3 in their four games against
Both teams have scored in each of the four previous meetings
The two previous AFCON meetings ended in 1-1 draws
Algeria are well on course for top spot in this group them. They have secured back to back wins, first of all getting a 2-0 win over Kenya and then edging Senegal 1-0. The game against Senegal was pegged as their most difficult, so they are over that hurdle. They only need a point to secure progress as group winners. But they can afford to lose this and they will still win the group, even if Senegal end up the same points as them. That’s because of Algeria having beaten them.
So Algeria can afford to rest some key players for the game in this one. Algeria are now on a three-match winning streak at the moment. They are currently undefeated in their last eight games played, winning six of those. They are one of the stronger teams taking part in the competition. They have suffered just one defeat in their last eleven games, so are in fine form. They are W3 D1 in their last four competitive matches and have back to back clean sheets.
Algeria are the stronger of the two teams in this one and they are facing a winnable fixture here. They may not have to exactly go full strength at this one because of the situation in the group. But still, Tanzania don’t look strong enough to get anything out of this. Algeria to win.
30th June 2019 / lee - Category: International Football Betting
Well, Germany would have been expecting to play either Belgium or Russia at this stage, but instead, Algeria pulled off a big surprise in Group H to go up against them. That will just add more weight to Germany’s claim to get their hands on the 2014 World Cup. The odds on Algeria to win against Germany are 11/1, with the Germans at 3/10.
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Go back to 1982 and there was one of the most controversial moments of World Cup history involving these two. Algeria had taken a shock win over Germany in their group stage match, but the Africans were eliminated when the Germans and Austrians, in what was the final match of the group, ended in a 1-0 win for Germany. That was just the exact result need to ensure that both Germany and Austria went through to the knockout stage of the tournament, at the expense of Algeria. The Africans of course cried foul, and the incident made FIFA organise the final group matches at the World Cup to be played at the same time.
So history lesson out of the way, that win over Germany was Algeria’s only triumph over a European side at the World Cup, losing four and drawing three since then. Germany should progress here and they are looking to become the first side to make it to four World Cup semi finals in a row. No other side attempted more passes than Germany did in the group stage, and of course they Thomas Muller to fire them to victory. Muller has scored three goals from four shots at Brazil 2014, in total having scored nine goals in nine World Cup appearances. That’s class. Muller is up as 5/6 favourite in the anytime goalscorer market, and so far, Germany have netted the opening goal in each of their games in the tournament. In 2014, Germany are unbeaten, winning four and drawing seven, with clean sheets in four of those matches.
Algeria pulled off a big shock as they fought for a 1-1 draw against Russia in their final group match, a result which put them through at the expense of Fabio Capello’s side. That was their big moment and they will probably tumble out of the competition here. This is the first time that they have been out of the group at a World Cup, and in their opening defeat against Belgium, they didn’t look to be any kind of offensive threat. But then they played with just out and out bravery, throwing the kitchen sink at South Korea and took a 4-2 win.
Their six goals so far at the tournament have come from five different players. But facing Germany is a huge step up for them in quality of opposition. But Algeria can take heart from winning their two previous games against Germany, in those two meetings scoring four and conceding just one. This time around it would probably be a bigger upset than the one they caused back in 1982.
The odds on Algeria to win against Germany are so long that they should pretty much be ignored. No value there really as Germany should win this one at a canter. Germany should dominate possession in this game and find a way through Algeria, who will likely go into their shell a bit for this challenge.
29th June 2014 / lee - Category: World Cup 2018 Betting
South Korea v Algeria World Cup 2014, 22nd June
There is a lot at stake here for South Korea, who could make a big stride towards qualification with a win in this one. That is because they took a good point against Russia in their opening match, so if they go on to beat the Algerians then they would consolidate that first point superbly. They do go against the group underdogs, so there is a good chance that they will deliver. This has to be their shot having to go up against Belgium in their final match. The odds on Algeria to win against South Korea are at 9/4, leaving South Korea as 5/4 shots.
South Korea won the only previous meeting between the two sides, which was a friendly all the way back in 1985. So this will be the first clash at the World Cup between them. South Korea’s point against Russia was a little unexpected, going as underdogs there, because they weren’t going in great form ahead of the tournament, having lost their two warm up matches prior to Brazil 2014. But they did what you expect of South Korea against Russia, they showed a decent amount of enterprise and they had plenty of running in them. More so than the Europeans. Twice before South Korea have played African nations at the World Cup, taking a draw and a win from those two matches, which were against Togo and Nigeria respectively.
South Korea have only won one of their last six World Cup matches in the group stage now, drawing three and losing two in those six. This probably isn’t going to be a really high scoring game so would look to go under 2.5 goals. Of the two, South Korea have more about them and they are better at getting forward and they have to be fully aware of the massive opportunity ahead of them. In the anytime goalscorer market, Chu-Young Park and Son Heung Min are 2/1 joint favourites. Can they build on that point against Russia?
Algeria only managed a 2-1 defeat against Belgium in their opener, although they did make the Europeans work hard for their victory. But the Africans didn’t have a lot to offer themselves going forward, they don’t look a big offensive threat. They have only managed two World Cup goals in nearly eleven and a half hours of football in the competition. They were favourites to finish bottom of the group ahead of the tournament and that will probably pan out. The best that they could probably get out of this is a draw as before the World Cup, they did beat Slovenia, Armenia and Romania. They don’t look too capable of translating that over on the World Cup stage.
Would lean towards the odds on South Korean to win against Algeria in this one. The Asians do look to have a better options in pushing forward and they will likely get more of the ball. Would expect it to be a low scoring affair, but South Korea could edge it.
22nd June 2014 / lee - Category: World Cup 2018 Betting
This is Group H action at the World Cup and many punters will be eager to see just how well Belgium get themselves going. They have been backed by many to be the best dark horses of the tournament. Will the Red Devils be able to impress, or with the African nation spring a surprise? Belgium head into the match as 5/11 favourites, wit the odds on Algeria to win against Belgium at a distant 15/2.
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Strong favouritism for Marc Wilmots’ Belgium in this one. This is their first World Cup since the 2002 edition and the current young crop of players will be looking to put a poor record straight. Belgium have only won one of their last nine World Cup matches, which incidentally was against Russia (who they are vying for top spot against in Group H). But you can probably throw that form out of the window, because Belgium are one of the most powerful sides around at the moment. It has all come about thanks to a great youth set up in the country, from which they are reaping the benefits now. Ahead of the World Cup Belgium strung together wins over Luxembourg, Sweden and Tunisia, getting back on track after some dodgy results.
Despite their lack of wins, they are unbeaten in their last two World Cup group stage campaigns which were in 1998 and 2002 (W1 D5). They have faced Algeria twice before, both occasions being international friendlies, and they posted one win and one draw. Big Romelu Lukaku is trading at 3/4 in the anytime goalscorer market and he was looking in fine fettle ahead of the World Cup. He really has the goods to make a huge impression on the world stage. Eden Hazard is trading at 6/4 for the Red Devils as well. They are a very well rounded, balance side and their defence was impressive through the qualifiers, conceding just the four goals along the way. They have one of the best keepers in the world in Thibaut Courtois, behind quality like Vincent Kompany in the back line.
The Red Devils are unbeaten in their two previous World Cup encounters with African opponents, winning one and drawing one there. Given the strength of their defence, they are running at decent value at 6/5 to win to nil in this one. They have immense creating in the middle of the park too and could push this over 2.5 goals all by themselves. Algeria haven’t scored in their last five world Cup matches. Since their last goal all the way back at World Cup 1986, they have had 71 unsuccessful shots. However, they did beat European opposition in Romania and Slovenia ahead of the World Cup and are unbeaten in their last four matches. Big step up in quality of opposition though and could struggle to make an impression.
Should be fairly routine for Belgium in this one. The Red Devils look a class outfit and will probably have too much in the tank for Algeria at the end of the day in this one. They are good enough, given their defence and lack of World CUp goals from Algeria, to win to nil as well. Hard to see anything other than a Belgium victory.
16th June 2014 / lee - Category: World Cup 2018 Betting
Kick-off: Wednesday, 22nd June – 15:00 GMT
Stadium: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Tshwane/Pretoria
The USA will naturally be feeling hard done by as they go into their final Group C match against Algeria on Wednesday. The American’s should be sitting two points better off than they are right now, as the referee in the match against Slovenia, controversially and inexplicably ruled out a third goal for the USA. That would have been the icing on the cake for Bob Bradley’s men, who found themselves trailing 2-0 at half time. Bradley was quite bold in making changes at half time and were cruelly denied the winner as Maurice Edu seemingly netted the vital third goal. It was not to be though, and the Americans walked away with a point, which they never looked like getting at half time. Coach Bradley will be worried by how sluggish his team are starting matches. They keep conceding early goals and then have to put themselves into the position of chasing matches instead of controlling them. Naturally the danger in this, is that it will happen once to often and they will not be able to fight their way back. The Americans were outplayed in the first half, as Slovenia played slick, passing football around the USA. It was nothing fancy, it was just basic, simple football which the USA could not deal with. The weakness of the USA is that while they put in a lot of effort, and will probably run all day, they are not very solid at the back. That may prohibit them from going too far in the competition, but they have every chance of making it to the second round.
A victory, or even a point against Algeria may be enough for them. They cannot rest on their laurels though, and they will need to shoot for the win. The only way they would qualify with a draw, is if England fail to beat Slovenia. That would leave England and the USA on level points, just as they are now, but with the USA having a better goal advantage, with the USA having scored three goals to England’s one. While the actual goal difference is the same, the USA edge it because of more goals scored. There is too much as stake to settle for a draw, and while they face Algeria, who are perceived to be the weakest team in the group, the Americans will have watched with certain glee, as the North Africans comfortably shut out England. There was enough to suggest that the USA may not get things all their own way, and at the end of the ninety minutes, they will know they have been in a battle. They will also need a little extra movement and quality up front, as Jozy Altidore does not look like a player to lead from the front at international level. Edson Buddle was a bright spark in their World Cup build up, and he may be considered for a big role.
Algeria showed a marked improvement from what they had shown throughout most of 2010 against England in their second Group C match. They were supposedly going to be on the receiving end of a rampant England, who were expected to beat the Africans with relative ease. This came about because Algeria had not looked particularly inspiring in their opening match loss against Slovenia. In that match, they simply flooded the midfield in an attempt to stifle the game. However, against England, they had the upper hand for large parts of the game, and actually looked the more dangerous side on the break. They appeared to be quite positive in their approach to taking on England, and they will have given themselves a bit of hope that they can beat the Americans and perhaps snatch second place. For them to do that, it would need a win for them and for England to lose. So, there is every chance that Africa may have at least one success story to shout about. But in all reality, the Algerians will start as underdogs to the Americans, who, in their own blustering way, have a little more polish about them.
Algeria should offer up quite an even match for the USA. They will be tough to break down, as they play efficient football, and they will have taken note of how easily Slovenia counter attacked against the USA. They will also have noticed how much time and space the Slovenia attackers were given when dropping off the defence a little bit. Algeria showed some good passing and energy against the England. They really weren’t troubled at the back, and if the game against the USA comes down to Algeria needing to defend, then they know how to do it. The question will be whether or not Algeria can find the back of the net themselves, which they have not done so far in this tournament. Maybe now everything is on the line and they have nothing left to lose, they will press forward a bit more. If they sneak an early goal against the USA, then the Americans could have a very long afternoon trying to break down a sturdy Algerian defence. It may be the best route to three points for the African nation.
Match verdict – Draw 3.6 at Ladbrokes
Algeria showed quite a bit of craft against England, and whether or not they made England look bad, or whether England really were just terrible, we’ll never really know. One thing Algeria will face against the USA, is pace. England are a very slow paced team, and that could have given Algeria exactly the time they needed to defend and close down easily. The USA will approach the match a little more directly, with plenty of energy and gusto, and that may trouble the Algerians a little bit more. But at the end of the day, both teams have their plus points and both have their weaknesses. It may be a frustrating game for the USA, as Algeria will probably wait for counter attack opportunities. It is vital the USA do not go behind, but still, there is an air of parity about the game, which could ruin the chances of both teams progressing.
Football-Bookmakers.com Value Bet: Score Draw 4.8 at Boylesports
Current USA V Algeria Odds:
21st June 2010 / lee - Category: International Football Betting
England V Algeria
Kick-off: Friday, 18th June – 19:30 GMT
Stadium: Green Point Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)
If you were to believe the newspaper, England have already lost the World Cup following their 1-1 draw with the United States on Saturday, while Robert Green is destined to spend the rest of his goalkeeping career playing for Plymouth Argyle. The backlash England received after their honours even contest with USA, who were even before the tournament started our like qualifying partners, was incredible and it’s no wonder our Three Lions crumble under the pressure every four years when they know public condemnation is around the corner when they fail. At least now we can all put it into perspective, especially after Spain’s shock defeat to Switzerland on Wednesday, and use some common sense to come to the conclusion that England are still hot favourites to progress and will hopefully show exactly why against Algeria on Friday evening.
Next up for Fabio Capello’s Three Lions are ’The Desert Foxes’ more commonly known as Algeria. With Slovenia playing the United States earlier in the day, England could find themselves down in third position, while Slovenia could even have one foot in the Round of 16 should England comply against lowly Algeria, who succumbed to a 1-0 loss to Slovenia in their opening game, and what a game that turned out to be. It is fair to say that should England fail to beat the Algerians, the criticism that would await the England players would be colossal and rightly so. That shouldn’t and won’t happen however, as Capello looks to revert back to type for a game England simply have to win.
Capello has already confirmed that Gareth Barry has not only returned to full fitness, isn’t just available for selection but will start against Algeria in his familiar holding role behind Frank Lampard. What that means, we actually don’t know. We would hazard a guess that Steven Gerrard would move into left-midfield, a position which completely negates all his impressive qualities whereas the England skipper would be far more influential and destructive in behind his scouser buddy, Wayne Rooney. That doesn’t look ever likely to happen under Capello, so Gerrard on the left and Peter Crouch up front. Emile Heskey had his chance, and chances, against the USA and didn’t seize it or them, so his place in the starting eleven is now vacant. Another position which has publicly been left wide open is goalkeeper, after Robert Green’s blunder against the United States cost England two points and perhaps his England future, as were Green not to start against Algeria then you would fear for his England career.
Fabio Capello has some difficult decisions ahead of him, although the Italian claims he already knows his starting eleven but will stand firm on his last minute declaration policy which has also come in for heavy criticism from the press. We don’t really care either way, as whoever starts against Algeria should be good enough to inspire England to victory. However, you do get the feeling that anything less than a resounding victory and the media will come out in full voice once again, as the expectant pressure on England to finally deliver after 44 years of hurt continues to intensify.
Algeria were the rank outsiders in this four-man Group C, and their 1-0 defeat to Slovenia back up the assumptions that Algeria haven’t a hope in hell of qualifying from this group. On Friday, Algeria take on the pre-tournament Group C favourites in England aiming to spring the second surprise of the tournament following Switzerland’s shock 1-0 win over tournament favourites Spain. It is, however, results like Switzerland’s which inspire the little folk, give them hope and belief that no one team is invincible, nor neither is any side so inferior in these finals that they can’t bridge the gulf in class and quality.
In fairness, Algeria can feel hard done by that they aren’t sharing the honour of being joint-top of this group, as a howler from goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi cost Algeria their first points of these finals. Ironically, their shot-stopper that day looks unlikely to play against England because of a knee injury he sustained during training, although the rumours are the entire Algeria team lined up and leathered balls at him in training the day after his antics against Slovenia cost them a share of the spoils. Chaouchi sprained his knee and doctrs fear he won’t recover in time to start against England, which is a shame as England could do with cheering up by looking at a keeper even less convincing than that of their own.
The Algerians are currently ranked 30 in the world, a deceiving ranking if you ask me. Coached by Rabah Saadane, his team needed a nervy play-off victory over Egypt just to make these finals and their smash-and-grab qualification route certainly shows after watching them against Slovenia on Sunday, as well as seeing them in action against Republic of Ireland pre-tournament. In both, Algeria lacked any sort of spark in the forward third, with their forward play as a whole looking very disjointed. Their defence leaves far too many gaps and will be easy to manipulate and move out of position, especially with the quick and agile players England have in their squad.
Since playing in the African Cup of Nations back in January, where Algeria conjured just two goals in four games, Algeria have played three international friendlies; losing two, with their only win coming against the UAE, a game in which their only pre-tournament goal was scored. They didn’t look for one minute like they would score against Slovenia, with Belhadj the closest to scoring from a free-kick, and they will struggle to compete with an England defence which boasts countless amounts of experience in the middle and tonnes of pace on the flanks. Their defence look so jaded and disorganised against a toothless Slovenia, the same defence which conceded three goals to Republic or Ireland Serbia immediately before the finals. Dare we say it, but Algeria don’t have a hope in hell of getting a result against England in Cape Town, who will be without forward Abel Ghezzal after he was sent off against Slovenia.
Match Verdict: England to WIN – 1.25 SkyBet
England fans can rest assured, this will be straightforward, so much so that even Emile Heskey would find it difficult not to score against the Algerian’s.
So long as England turn up and apply themselves in a professional manner, clearly not getting too cocky like ourselves, then the three points will come. Algeria lack any guile or creativity in the final third, as well as having no striker worth shouting about, while their defence has the capability of conceding a good five or six. The pace of Aaron Lennon down the right will cause Algeria all sorts of problems, whole Rooney will lead this defence a merry dance we feel. We honestly feel this is a formality, although a word of warning; Algeria have beaten the Kings of Africa, Egypt, this year 1-0, as well as the Ivory Coast.
Football-Bookmakers.com Value Bet: Wayne Rooney FGS – 4.30 Coral (NAP)
17th June 2010 / Matt - Category: International Football Betting
Algeria V Slovenia
Kick-off: Sunday, 13th June – 12:30 GMT
Stadium: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Referee: Pablo Pozo (Chile)
The Desert Foxes will be making just their third appearance in the finals of a World Cup and will endeavour to make the Round of 16 stage for the first time in their history, after the previous two attempts ended in failure. 1986 was the last time we seen Algeria compete in a World Cup proper, so 24 years ago, and despite a lengthy absence from the biggest football spectacle on the planet will be upbeat about their prospects of progressing out of a generous Group C which contains Slovenia, USA and favourites England.
Coach Rabah Saadane was actually in charge during Algeria’s two and only World Cup’s and will take the reigns for their third as well. If his ability to inspire the team to a fourth place finish at the 2010 African Cup of Nations is anything to by, Algeria could very well surprise a few. Then again, if you look at Algeria’s form coming into the finals; losing 3-0 to Republic of Ireland and Serbia before finally gaining the win they were in desperate need of in order to salvage some pre-tournament confidence by beating UAE 1-0.
You feel, considering their opener game against Slovenia is likely to be their easiest task at first glance, they need to make a positive start if they are to push USA for second spot. It does look a big ask but very few expected them to make it out of their group in the African finals earlier in the year and they went on to finish in fourth place, so it’s not entirely impossible although a huge ask. It doesn’t help looking through their squad only to find a handful of recognisable faces, with Ranger’s Madjid Bougherra and Portsmouth’s Nadir Belhadj the only two players to to ring any bells from a UK perspective. Worryingly, the pair have scored more goals from defence than most of their forwards, with only Rafik Saifi outscoring them with 19 goals in 62 appearances for Algeria.
For those of you who did watch the Premier League last season, Hassan Yebda, who spent last season on loan with relegated Portsmouth, make also look familiar and earlier in the week he uttered the same sentiments as us, with Yebda reinforcing how a positive start is imperative by saying “The first game is very, very important, if we can win it will be better for us”. Considering England are next up for Algeria, we would say this opener is a ’do or bust’ kind of scenario for them as two defeats in succession would leave them reeling and all but heading home.
Slovenia surprised many by qualifying for South Africa 2010, finishing second behind Slovakia in their respective qualifying group but, more importantly, above the usually consistent Czech Republic. It wasn’t by chance though, as they beat the eventual group winners, Slovakia, twice and came out victorious over two-legs against a dangerous Russia in the play-off. Slovenia believe they have earned their stripes and in a less than challenging group, will be confident of bettering their previous performance in the finals of a World Cup when losing all three of their games at the 2002 finals in Korea/Japan.
Looking back at their route to the finals, it’s very apparent that a watertight defence was the basis of a successful qualifying campaign. After ten qualifiers, Slovenia had only conceded six times and against teams such as the United States and Algeria, their two rivals for second position, coach Matjaz Kek will have supreme confidence in his defenders nullifying the attacking threat of two nations which hardly look formidable from a striking perspective. The man carrying the burden of ensuring Slovenia’s goal remains reliably guarded is Udinese shot-stopper Samir Handanovic, who at 25 years-old has already established himself as the country’s No.1 goalkeeper. The defence has a combination of European styles, which should serve them well over the course of the tournament, as some ply their trade in the Italian Serie A while others in the German Bundesliga – Two leagues which contain some of the tournament’s biggest stars.
The worry for Slovenia is not scoring more than they did at the 2002 finals, where they managed a mere two goals in three games. While no-one world-class will lead the line in South Africa, they do have a tall individual by the name of Milivoje Novakovic, who plays for German club Koln and averages a goal every two games for his country. While at over 6ft tall, Novakovic, who top scored for Slovenia in qualifying with 5 goals, will more than likely range over his defensive markers and if the Slovenian wingers can tweak their deliveries to almost perfection, the team as whole could benefit as a result. It’s a tactic we have little doubt the coach will attempt to use in all three games.
Like their match day opponents Algeria, Slovenia will know the importance of getting off to a good start against what is the weakest team in the group, and vice verse for Algeria. Their preparation has been good, having beaten Qatar 4-1 and New Zealand 3-1 immediately before the finals so confidence within the camp should be high, while the euphoria back home in Slovenia at the prospect of playing in just their second finals could prove infectious on the pitch for their players.
Match Verdict: Slovenia to WIN – 2.25 PaddyPower
If Slovenia are to avoid emulating their miserable efforts in the 2002 finals where they failed to pick up a single point, surely the points will come against the weakest team of the four in Group C in Algeria. The Africa side looked below average during their warm up games against Republic of Ireland and Serbia, especially toothless in front of goal. Slovenia arrive in South Africa with one of the leanest defensive records of all the 32 teams competing and the positivity surrounding that hugely impressive statistics should lead to Slovenia shutting out a lacklustre Algeria.
With a rock-solid defence against an Algerian team which threatened little in their games with Republic of Ireland and Serbia, we see only one outcome. Slovenia look a fair price to better their previous World Cup best in their opening game of the finals.
Football-Bookmakers.com Value Bet: Slovenia to WIN to NIL – 5.00 SkyBet
10th June 2010 / Matt - Category: International Football Betting