Algeria V Slovenia Preview: Sunday, 13th June (Group C)

11th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News, World Cup Betting & Odds
Football World Cup News

 

Algeria V Slovenia

Kick-off: Sunday, 13th June – 12:30 GMT
Stadium: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Referee: Pablo Pozo (Chile)
Group C

 

Algeria

Algeria surprise many when they qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after winning their play-off encounter with Egypt. This won’t be their first appearance in the finals, despite how unfamiliar the Algerian’s may have been in recent finals. In fact, this will be their first appearance since 1986 where they bowed out at the group stage for the second time in succession, and at South Africa coach Rabah Saadane will go about changing their World Cup fortunes and avoiding a hat-trick of group slumps.

It’s definitely worth pointing out that coach Rabah Saadane is the same coach which failed to drag Algeria out of their group at the 1982 and 1986 World Cup’s, and despite enjoying success as manager in Morocco when winning the African version of the Champions League, Saadane hardly inspires a great deal of confidence. Saadane has, however, been at the forefront of a successful qualifying campaign and after guiding Algeria to the finals, will have belief in his own managerial nous even if few others mirror his inner confidence.

If Algeria are to prosper in South Africa and defy the huge odds stacked against them, they’ll need to make good use of their marauding full-backs; Madjid Bourgherra and Nadir Belhadj, whom both have first-hand experience of playing against some the very best players in the world through their spells in Scotland and the Champions League, and in the English Premier League. The pair love to get forward and aid the attacks and against sides who pride themselves on their sturdy rearguards, The Desert Foxes will need all the help they can get. Up front, it would appear their stellar forward is Rafik Saifi, who plays for French club Istres. Saifi has 19 goals to his names in 62 caps and at 35 years-of-age, could very well carry some father like characteristics into camp.

We do have some major doubts surrounding the Algerian’s, ones which were compounded by some terrible displays directly before the finals. While they did ensure they went into the 2010 finals with a win under their belts, beating UAE 1-0, before that came a succession of defeats, resounding ones at that, when losing to Republic of Ireland and Serbia, both by a 3-0 scoreline. We will disregard their win over UAE completely as their opponents that day are nothing in comparison to what they’ll face in South Africa. Against Republic of Ireland and Serbia however, Algeria were utterly useless. They were a mess at the back and clueless up front. If they’re to take some positive away from these finals then it will come from this fixture, but even that looks a big ask.

 

Slovenia

Slovenia will be looking to improve on their one and only previous appearance in the finals, leaving the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002 pointless. Subsequently, Slovenia missed out the following the tournament but made amends this time around after beating Russia in a play-off by virtue of the away goals rule. While their passage may now seem a tad fortunate and unconvincing, it should be known that the country boast one of the strongest defensive records heading into these finals, having conceded just six goals in their ten qualifiers.

The inspirational lead behind Slovenia’s qualifying success was coach Matjaz Kek, who in his first stint as international manager already has World Cup qualification on his CV. It was also of little surprise to hear that Kek was formerly a defender during his playing days, and his defensive nous has clearly been passed on to the Slovenia national team as they were hugely impressive during qualifying as they conceded just six goals on route to the finals. Considering two of their Group C opponents aren’t the most feared of attacking nations, Slovenia’s defensive prowess could serve them well during the group phase, and possibly beyond if they remain clinical in the final third.

The goalscoring burden will rest on Koln forward Milivoje Novakovic, who top scored with five goals during qualifying. At 6ft 4incs tall, it’s stating the obvious to claim Novakovic will be a constant threat from set-pieces and dominant in the aerial battles. For that to happen he will need his midfielders to back him up with some regular service, and in Robert Koren, Slovenia don’t just have a player which will help create opportunities for their bold figure of a forward, he can pop up with a goal or two himself despite his far from flattering return of 4 goals in 46 senior games.

With the United States awaiting Slovenia in their next Group C encounter, finalised by a tough game with England, to say everything hangs on this result against Algeria probably wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Three points in what is quite obviously their easiest assignment of the three in Group C will stand them in good stead heading into their last two encounters, as it would leave Slovenia needing only one more win, a draw if they’re lucky, to book their place in the knock-outs.

 

Match Odds:

Algeria – 3.60 BetFred
Draw – 3.30 Ladbrokes
Slovenia – 2.25 PaddyPower

 

Our Prediction: Slovenia to WIN – 2.25 PaddyPower

Slovenia look a stunning bet to overcome this Algerian tester. The fact is, Algeria probably won’t even provide Slovenia with much of a game if their recent displays in internationals are anything to go by. Granted they may well be room for improvement from the Algerian’s, but they were so poor and uninspiring against Republic of Ireland and Serbia that it amazes me how Slovenia’s price is above evens. The likelihood is Slovenia will only need one goal to clinch all the spoils, as with their defence oozing confidence after their impressive displays during qualifying, they should be more than a match for a disjointed Algeria.

Our Recommended Bet: Slovenia (HT/FT) – 4.00 WilliamHill




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