Algeria and Russia go into this encounter knowing fully well that whoever wins the game might well go into the Round of 16. After a convincing win over South Korea in the previous game, Algeria come into this encounter high on confidence, hoping to win their second game of the tournament. The Russians on the other hand, will be hoping to come back from a defeat to Belgium which all but knocked them out of the World Cup. The Arena de Baixada will host this crucial Group H encounter on Thursday which will decide who finishes second in Group H.
Arena de Baixada, Curitiba
The Arena de Baixada in Curitiba will play host to its final match of the World Cup as Algeria take on Russia. The second-highest stadium in this year’s world cup will be looking to end it with a bang. Although there have only been six goals in its opening three games, the late kick off and the cool climate and the stakes at hand, might just make this one an open and entertaining game.
June 27 – 01.30 am – Indian Standard Time (IST)
June 26 – 5.00 pm - Local Time
Possible Starting Line ups
With no real injury concerns, Algeria are unlikely to alter the winning combination that beat South Korea. So expect the trio of Soudani, Brahimi and Feghouli to cause the Russian defence all sorts of problems.
Algeria (4-2-3-1): M'Bolhi; Mandi, Bougherra, Halliche, Mesbah; Bentaleb, Medjani; Soudani, Brahimi, Feghouli; Mahrez.
Aleksei Kozlov was forced off through injury against Belgium and it remains to be seen if he is fit for this game. If he isn’t Andrey Eshchenko is poised to fill in at right-back. But Capello’s biggest problem is up front where he must decide between the misfiring Alexander Kokorin and the more experienced Alexander Kerzhakov
Russia (4-3-3): Akinfeev; Eschenko, Berezoutski, Ignashevitch, Kombarov; Glushakov, Denisov, Shatov; Samedov, Kokorin, Zhirkov.
Key Facts and Stats
- This will be the first competitive fixture between Algeria and Russia, with the only previous meeting between the two being a friendly which ended 2-2.
- Russia have won both their games against African sides at the World Cup (6-1 v Cameroon in 1994 and 2-0 v Tunisia in 2002).
- Algeria on the other hand have only won one of their seven World Cup games against European opposition (D2 L4)
- Algeria ended a run of seven World Cup matches without a win by claiming victory in their second group game against South Korea.
- Russia are without a win in four World Cup group games (D1 L3)
- Russia have kept only one clean sheet in their eight World Cup matches since 1994.
- The last eight World Cup goals conceded by Algeria have come after half-time while eight of the last nine World Cup goals shipped by Russia have also arrived after half time
Algeria’s attacking trio vs Russia’s defence
Against South Korea, Algeria showed that they aren’t just in Brazil to shut up shot and go for a point. Feghouli, Brahimi and Soudani were excellent against the Koreans and expect the same against the resolute Russians, who have shown already that they can be very hard to beat. If Russia do get the better of Algeria’s attackers, then given the quality on the pitch and available from the bench, they could very easily win this game. But all of that depends on their slow defence faces up against the lightning quick Algerian attack.
With so much at stake, neither side is likely to go out all guns blazing from the start. With both sides conceding a lot of goals after half-time, expect the second half to be a humdinger. Given that Algeria only need a draw to go through, they might not go out and attack in the second half, if the game is in the balance. Russia on the other hand, need to, but their misfiring attack is unlikely to score too many past Algeria. So expect a draw with Algeria going through and Russia going home.
Predicted Scoreline: Algeria 1 – 1 Russia
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
Assistant referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth official: Joel Aguilar (SLV)Published 26 Jun 2014, 13:13 IST