South Korea v Algeria – Algeria To Out-Fox KoreansStats
South Korea v Algeria
South Korea and Algeria meet in Porto Alegere knowing that the loser will almost certainly be going home at the end of the group stages.
South Korea kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Russia. Lee Keun-Ho gave them a lead that they just about deserved midway through the second half of that game, but it only lasted for six minutes and the game ended in a drab 1-1 draw. Although the result itself will offer some encouragement and keeps South Korea firmly in the hunt for a last-16 berth, the performance left plenty to be desired and suggests that head coach Hong Myung-bo still has plenty of work to do.
The Taegeuk Warriors have now scored just five goals in their last eight games, and have failed to score more than a single goal in a game in seven of those eight matches. They’ve also won only one of their last six World Cup group stage matches.
Meanwhile, Algeria took a shock first-half lead in their opening game with Belgium when Sofiane Fehouli converted from the penalty spot for the Fennec Foxes’ first goal at a World Cup finals since 1986.
Vahid Halihodžić’s side then showed some solid resistance to hold on to that lead until 20 minutes from time, but once Belgium equalised it looked as though there could be only one result and Dries Mertens’ strike 10 minutes from time confirmed their fate.
There were, however, plenty of positives for the Algerians to take and they will come into this game in buoyant mood knowing that a win will give them every chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
South Korea put up a resolute defensive display in their opening game and achieved their objective to set the platform for the remainder of the group stages, but will look to be a little more adventurous here with three points a must. Changes in personnel are not an obvious consequence, but the outlook will be more positive.
Vahid Halihodžić reverted to a 4-3-3 formation for the game against Belgium and it looked as though it might just do the trick. An inability to adjust to Belgium’s substitutions ultimately cost them the game, but I’d expect the manager to keep faith with the tactics having come so close to executing a perfect game plan.
The only previous meeting between the two teams came back in 1985 in the Mexican city of Nezahualcoyotl, with South Korea winning the game 2-0. South Korea have never lost a World Cup game against African opposition.
South Korea are made the betting favourites at odds of 11/8, but I’d rather take the 23/10 about an Algeria side that came so close to upsetting one of the tournament favourites in their opening game.
Both sides were, for obvious reasons, keen to keep things tight at the back in their opening games but must be a lot more adventurous in search of the three points here. The market appears not to respect that fact, making Over 2.5 goals a good bet at odds of 6/5.