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Posted by Dine Lahcen on 06/06/2010

It was third time lucky for Algeria. They finally managed a win over the UAE, albeit by a miserly penalty scored by Karim Ziani in the second half following Sbait Khater’s handling of the ball in the box. It was an unconvincing win, but a win nonetheless that will spur Algeria on to look forward to putting on a good show in the World Cup finals.

In their first group match against Slovenia on June 13th, the Algerians will have to play a lot better than they did in their match against the UAE to have any hope of reaping something out of that match.

Algeria had most of the players back from injury and the coach could manage to line-up his star players. It was a good dress rehearsal for a team still looking for style, flair and efficiency in front of goal. They played in a 4-4-2 formation which could quickly turn into a 4-3-3 when they had possession of the ball and attacking.

This was the team: Chaouchi in goals, Bougherra, Halliche, Yahia, Belhadj, Mansouri (Kadir 65’), Lacen (Guedioura 77’), Ziani, Matmour, Ghezzal (Saifi 63’), Djebbour (Boudebouz 64’).

Coach Saadane has a lot of adjustments to make in the team before it is the finished product. In an interview right after the UAE match, Saadane said that there is still a lot of work to be done but on D day, Algeria will be a different team. In this last match, the team lacked cohesion and discipline. Saadane’s main worry is Hassan Yebda’s injury and he is hoping to see him fit in time for the first match against Slovenia.

Algerian fans are ruing Algeria’s lack of scoring capabilities. It is a genuine problem and Saadane has to address it now, as time is running out. No goal was scored from open play in their three friendly matches before boarding the plane and heading for South Africa. Algeria’s two main strikers Ghezzal and Djebbour have not been, well, prolific. They are both going through a goal drought that is really frustrating for them and may seriously undermine their confidence. At the moment, Ghezzal is the one on the hotspot, being seen as the man responsible for squandering most scoring opportunities. With last night’s match, Ghezzal has now gone eleven matches without scoring.

Algeria created a few scoring chances, mainly by their playmaker Karim Ziani who had a great match against the UAE. Ziani kept feeding his two strikers but to no avail. Belhadj also, with his marauding runs down the left flank, kept crossing the ball but the two forwards were on a lunch break.

In midfield, Saadane kept faith with his captain Mansouri, an ageing and slow player under fire for not doing his job as a holding midfielder, supposed to patrol the midfield and protect the back four. The press in Algeria along with coaches and former players have been criticizing Saadane’s decision to stick with Mansouri when he has young and powerful Adlene Guedioura at his disposal. In fact, against the UAE, Guedioura did in ten minutes what Mansouri did not do in 80 minutes. When Yebda is fit, will Saadane finally do the right thing and take Mansouri off? We shall see on June 13th.

At the moment, things are not looking bright but the players and their coach have promised that they will show their mettle when things really matter: the World Cup finals.


Posted by salim on 06/07/2010

I think Algeria is better without Mansouri. He is old and we have more better players than him. Saadane must decide if he wants to win or to lose with his team. I wish we are good in south africa because we have good players.

Posted by ammarali on 06/07/2010

Algeria is have problems in midfeild because Meghni is not play. Algerie must play better if they have chance. Other teams are strong and this is big problem for us.

Posted by Filip on 06/07/2010

Great blog, mate! Is it true that against Slovenia, your team will have to play withour Fawzi Chaouchi, Nadir Belhadj and Rafik Halliche because of their RED CARDS againts Egypt in Africa Cup? Pls answer.

Posted by dine lahcen on 06/09/2010

Thanks Filip. No, Chaouchi, Belhadj and Halliche will all play against Slovenia. They have been cleared by FIFA and CAF (African Football Confederation). So they will be in the line-up against Slovenia, barring any injuries.

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Posted by Romar on 10/30/2012

I know and England were the top scoring side out of all the gruops in Europe (which have the best teams I might add). The USA only qualify because the North and Central American qualifying group is a joke

Posted by Alan on 11/01/2012

I don't even take England seriously. didn't they like alsmot not qualify? For having the top soccer professional league in the world they sure seem to do alot of not being good at international soccer

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