Algeria and the United States will clash in a critical Group C fixture to determine who advances, and who will be sent home early. Although both sides didn’t possess great expectations entering South Africa, both of them face exciting must-win scenarios in their quest for moving further at the 2010 World Cup.
Although the United States are fortunate to be in a position to advance, they can’t help but wonder what could have been. In their previous match against Slovenia, the Americans admirably rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the latter stages. However, moments later they appeared to win it off a Maurice Edu goal from star striker Landon Donovan. Remarkably, it was called back for reasons still unknown to Team America and their fans. The referee of that game, Koman Coulibaly is being disciplined by FIFA for his horrible call which cost the Americans the win, and perhaps the second round.
Algeria is still a mystery at this year’s World Cup. They’ve turned in two solid performances against both Slovenia and England, yet possess only one point to their credit. In their first match, they held Slovenia to a draw for the majority of the match, yet their goalkeeper made a stunning error late in the game to cost them a point. Against England, the Algerians were strong in the defensive aspects of the game, rarely conceding any great goal-scoring opportunities to the Three Lions. Although the Desert Foxes have yet to score a goal in South Africa, they remain positive that they can defeat the U.S.A., and advance for the second round.
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USA vs Algeria Odds:
Keys to the Game:
The U.S.A. will have to entirely forget about the brutal call which has forced them into such an arduous situation against Algeria. If they get off to poor starts, as they’ve done in matches to both England and Slovakia, there may be no time to recover against a strong defensive side in Algeria. Landon Donovan will again need to be in excellent form for the American attack to flourish. In his first two fixtures at the World Cup, Donovan has been lethal on his deliveries off of set-pieces, and has displayed a tireless work-ethic all over the pitch. Coach Bob Bradley will be forced to make some slight alterations to his squad, as forward Robbie Findley is forced out of the line-up after being booked in his first two matches. Look for Clint Dempsey to move forward in the American attack, joining Jozy Altidore up front. Meanwhile, Maurice Edu was dynamic after being a late substitution in the match against Slovakia, and may have earned himself a starting midfielder role in place of Jose Torres.
For the Desert Foxes, they’ll have to do something they have yet to do in South Africa, score. Although they have turned in two solid performances, to attain their goals of advancing, Algeria will have beat the Americans in convincing fashion. With Slovakia currently situated at 4 points, it forces Algeria to put goals on the board in an attempt to secure a superior goal differential. They’ll be buoyed in their quest for goals as they welcome back striker Abdelkader Ghezzal from his suspension. Although whether coach Rabah Saadane uses Ghezzal remains to be seen. Saadane was enamored with the performance of his starting eleven against England, and may reward them all with starting roles yet again.
What to Expect:
Expect this match to be an exciting one, with both squads pushing for goals. Algeria’s creative midfielder Karim Ziani will be in charge of suppressing the movements in the midfield of Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley. Ziani has been largely unnoticed thus far in South Africa, and should view this match as an opportunity to make amends for his poor performances to date. The Algerians will line up in their customary 4-4-2 formation, with their talented wing-backs pushing forward to maintain their offensive possession. The Americans have had no issues generating offense in South Africa, yet will need to focus on their defense for a full 90 minutes. Algeria is a disciplined side, exuding great confidence at the moment, and if they are given an opening, their talented offensive players in Ghezzal and Ziani could send the Americans home early.
I see the Americans getting a scare from the Algerians, but Donovan, Dempsey, and Altidore, will all simply be too much for Algeria. Look for the Americans to qualify for the round of 16.
USA vs Algeria Prediction: U.S.A. 2 – Algeria 1
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