Algeria v Russia – Foxes Too Sly For RussiaStats
Algeria v Russia
Algeria are in the driving seat for Group H qualification, but Russia can take control with a win. Can Fabio Capello’s side progress against a vibrant Algeria?
Algeria smashed their way into poll position for the second Group H qualifying spot with an emphatic 4-2 win against South Korea in Game 2. The North Africans powered into a 3-0 lead in the opening 45 minutes and continued to attack when South Korea reduced the deficit just after half time.
Goals have been spread evenly throughout the team with five different goalscorers – Islam Slimani, Rafik Halliche, Abdelmoumene Djabou, Yacine Brahimi and Sofiane Feghouli – getting Algeria’s five goals. While it is now just one loss – against Belgium – and five wins in their last six internationals.
Coach Vahid Halilhodzic has vowed that his team will go into this game with an attacking and daring mindset and that they will “go in search of this qualification with even more audacity.”
Russia’s campaign, meanwhile, has been anything but daring. Fabio Capello’s men were poor in a 1-1 draw with South Korea in their opening game, and then looked as though they’d be happy to take a point in a lifeless 1-0 defeat against Belgium in Game 2; an attitude that they were punished for late on as Divock Origi snatched the win.
All-time joint-top scorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov has scored Russia’s only goal of the tournament, but has played fewer than 30 minutes of football in the two games.
Halilhodzic has very little need to make too many changes to the starting XI that impressed against South Korea. Madjid Bougherra and Nabil Bentaleb are both on yellow cards and will incur a suspension if they are booked in this game.
With a win needed Fabio Capello will be under pressure to bring top scorer Kerzhakov back into the starting XI. Oleg Shatov and Denis Glushakov carry the risk of suspension for the last-16 match if they are yellow carded in this one.
Head To Head
Russia and Algeria drew 2-2 in their only previous meeting, while Russia have a 100% record against African opposition in World Cup tournaments.
Russia are made short price favourites at odds of 23/20, with Algeria big outsiders at odds of 11/4. Based on everything that we have seen at this World Cup so far, those prices look ridiculously out of line. Algeria have shown immense desire and quality in their opening two matches, while Russia have looked disinterested and disillusioned and with very little cohesion going forwards.
However, because Algeria do not need to win and are likely to progress with a draw, it makes sense to play in the Draw No Bet market at odds of 11/8 or the Double Chance market where Algeria-Draw is 4/6.
Sofiane Feghouli is on penalty duty for the Algerians and has already rewarded backers in the First Goalscorer market once this tournament. At odds of 8/1 to get the opener and 9/4 to net anytime he looks a good bet; particularly that 8/1 about him scoring first, which will be doubled with Boylesports if he scores inside the opening 20 minutes.