Nelson Mandela couldn’t attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 World Cup after the tragic death of his great-granddaughter, and he also missed the opening game (1-1) which opposed his country to Mexico. The South-African team had the honour to score the first goal of the competition, and it seems it wouldn’t need the referees’ help to qualify for the next round (the host country’s team has never been eliminated in the groups’ round).
So far and after five games, the French team proved once again that it is unable to score (0-0 against Uruguay); the Koreans burst the Greek bubble (a well deserved 2-0 preventing the Greek population from forgetting their financial crisis); and the talented but young Nigerians did well against Maradona‘s team (0-1) even if the latter didn’t give it their all.
More important for us is the Brits vs. Yanks game (1-1). Both teams played in their usual style with the English players trying to reach Heskey (or the 2.01m Crouch ) as soon as possible, while the Americans tried to construct their attacks. England scored very quickly (around the 5th minute) but its goalkeeper, Green, decided to outperform Calamity James and let the famous Jabulani ball in. In contrast, the American goalkeeper did wonderfully well. English Gerrard and Rooney and American Donovan and Dempsey also played well, but both defences are not that strong, especially when the forwards accelerate.
So tomorrow will be Algeria’s turn. Playing against Slovenia at 12:30am Algeria time, many Algerians will take a sick leave, a day off, or will just bring the telly at their work place.
The team suffers from many injuries which will add to the lack of preparation and cohesion we could see through the warm-up games. Saadane has finally decided to bench Mansouri (was about time!) and took the same decision for Ghezzal before Djebbour’s injury (so this could change).
I don’t know whether or not the England/USA result is good for us. I guess it is not important before tomorrow’s game. Both Algeria and Slovenia are the outsiders and the game’s winner will have the best chances to qualify for the next round. I believe Algeria could win tomorrow, we have the talent, but the injuries and lack of competition of many of our key players could hinder our chances. In any case, if we cannot win then I hope we won’t lose.
The Algerian starting should be:
Bougherra – Halliche – Yahia
Yebda – Kadir – Lacen – Belhadj
Matmour – Ziani
Djebbour (or Ghezzal)
Good luck to our team. One Two Three, Viva l’Algerie