Gritty Algeria to make a point this time.
Let’s hope that the South Koreans show a bit more adventure than they did in their opening game against Russia last Tuesday evening.
It took them the best part of an hour to come to life in Cuiaba but they looked to be on the way to three points after being gifted a lead by Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. But, even though the opposition was beginning to wilt in humid conditions, the Koreans couldn’t hang on and were pegged back when substitute Alexandr Kerzhakov netted in a goalmouth scramble.
That was very much two points dropped and they’ll probably now need to take points from their two remaining games in Group H, against Algeria and top seeds Belgium, to have a chance of progress.
Algeria looked on course for a shock in Belo Horizonte when they took a first-half lead against the much-fancied Belgians. But they conceded twice in the final 20 minutes and were unable to muster a response.
The North African side don’t look to have much in the way of firepower but are fairly solid in defence and there is clearly a good team spirit. Coach Vahid Halilhodzic thought his team were a bit unlucky not to take a point from their opener and is unlikely to make many changes to his starting line-up.
That means former Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday defender Majdid Bougherra should lead his team out again and Spurs’ Nabil Bentaleb will have a key role to play in the heart of midfield.
It should get a bit easier for Algeria in the group from now on and they’ve shown they can be competitive. Nine of South Korea’s squad play in Europe’s top leagues but this is a game that could go either way so the draw at 23/10 might be the value. It’s 4/5 that an even number of goals are scored.
The match kicks off at 8pm UK time on Sunday June 22nd at the Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre.