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South Korea vs Algeria - What we can expect - Preview and Prediction

Srihari
FEATURED WRITER
Modified 22 Jun 2014, 16:45 IST
Preview
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South Korean striker Lee Keun-Ho (L) and Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra (R) will be key to their side’s chances

Both South Korea and Algeria come into clash knowing that the loser will likely be knocked out of the tournament with the winner poised to take second place. The Koreans kicked off their campaign with a nervy 1-1 draw against Russia, while Algeria lost 2-1 to highly-fancied Belgium even after they took the lead. Although both teams were highly defensive in their opening game, that is unlikely to be the case in this one as both sides know the value of victory.

Probably the most underrated team in the tournament, Algeria know that a win on Sunday at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre would be crucial going into their final encounter against Russia while the Koreans will be looking to salvage some pride for the Asian nations, none of whom have really set the tournament alight.

Venue

South Korea’s clash against Algeria will take place at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, which is the furthest south of all the host cities. The stadium saw mad rush to be completed in time and although it isn’t one of the biggest, the atmosphere inside it is simply sublime. Given the region’s cool climate, the stadium’s low altitude and the kick off time, pitch conditions are unlikely to affect either side in this crucial clash for both sides.


Kickoff Time

June 23 – 12.30 pm – Indian Standard Time (IST)

June 22 – 4.00 pm – Local Time


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Possible Starting Line ups

South Korea too are unlikely to make any change to the side that drew 1-1 with Russia. If they do decide to make one, it will be up front with goalscorer Lee Keun-Ho replacing Arsenal’s Park Chu-Young. Apart from that the rest of the side look settled and much hinge on influential midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng

South Korea (4-2-3-1): Jung Sung-Ryong; Yun Suk-Young, Kim Young-Gwon, Hong Jeong-Ho, Lee Yong; Ki Sung-Yueng, Han Kook-Young; Son Heung-Min, Koo Ja-Cheol, Lee Chung-Yong; Lee Keun-Ho.

Vahid Halilhodži?’s side executed their game plan to perfection and almost snatched a famous victory over pre-tournament favourites Belgium. Given the side’s performances, he is unlikely to change anything and will probably go with the same side that started against Belgium, barring any last-minute injury concerns.

Algeria (4-3-3)Rais M'Bolhi; Faouzi Ghoulam, Madjid Bougherra, Rafik Halliche, Mehdi Mostefa; Saphir Taïder, Nabil Bentaleb, Carl Medjani; Riyad Mahrez, El Arbi Hillel Soudani, Sofiane Feghouli.


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How they will Line Up

South Korea will start in a 4-2-3-1 formation while Algeria are likely to go in with a more dynamic 4-3-3

Key Facts and Stats

- This will be the first World Cup clash between South Korea and Algeria. The only previous meeting between the two sides was in a friendly in 1985, when South Korea won 2-0.

- South Korea are unbeaten in their two previous World Cup games against African sides, winning against Togo in 2006 (2-1) and drawing against Nigeria in 2010 (2-2)

- Sofiane Feghouli’s goal from the penalty spot against Belgium was their only shot on target in the entire game, and was their first World Cup goal in 28 years, breaking an 11 hour 25 minute goal drought.

- South Korea have won just once in their last six group stage matches, losing twice and drawing three times.

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- Algeria have finished bottom of their group in each of their last two World Cup participations (1986 & 2010) with just solitary point.


Key Battles

Saphir Taïder vs Ki Sung-Yueng

Arguably the most important clash of the game will be between South Korea’s linchpin Ki Sung-Yueng and Algeria’s inspirational midfielder Saphir Taider. Both players are key to their side’s chances offensively and are expected to initiate the attack for their respective sides. While the Algerian operates further forward, Ki is likely to sit back and play as more of a quarterback. Both players possess loads of attacking flair and whoever creates the most chances is likely to help his side to a crucial victory.

Majid Bougherra vs Lee Keun-Ho

One of the stars in Algeria’s opening game defeat was their centre back partnership. Both Madjid Bougherra and Rafik Halliche played a near perfect game to almost ensure a clean sheet for their side and both will be key again if they are to their to keep a clean sheet against South Korea. It won’t be an easy task though as the attack, likely to be led by Lee Keun-Ho is one of the finest in Asia and will present an all-round threat to the defence. If the experienced Bougherra can get the better of striker Lee Keun-Ho, Algeria might just be able to claim their first victory of this campaign.

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Prediction

Both sides will be looking to win this game as a draw is of no use for either side. South Korea’s failings at the back are well documented and it is highly unlikely that they can keep a clean sheet against this solid counter-attacking Algerian outfit. Given their lack of a top quality strikers goals too are hard to come by for the Koreans, who will be hoping to snatch one from a set piece. Eventually, Algeria’s defensive discipline and pace on the break might be too much for South Korea, so expect a narrow 1-0 win over Algeria.

Predicted Score line: South Korea 0-1 Algeria

Match Officials

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL) 

Assistant referee 1: Eduardo Diaz (COL)

Assistant referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU)

Fourth official: Alireza Faghani (IRN)

Published 22 Jun 2014, 15:07 IST
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