Algeria take on Slovenia in Group C of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Polokwane at 13:30 local time (12:30 BST, 13:30 CET).
Algeria Starting XI
Faouzi Chaouchi, Majid Bougherra, Rafik Halliche, Antar Yahia, Nadir Belhadj, Karim Matmour, Hassan Yebda, Medhi Lacen, Karim Ziani, Fouad Kadir, Rafik Djebbour
Slovenia Starting XI
Samir Handanovic, Miso Brecko, Marko Suler, Bostjan Cesar, Bojan Jokic, Valter Birsa, Robert Koren, Aleksandar Radosavljevic, Andraz Kirm, Zlatko Dedic, Milivoje Novakovic
Algeria v Slovenia shall be referee’d by Carlos Alberto Batres of Guatamala.
Algeria v Slovenia Preview
Ordinarily, we would expect Algeria to shade this match based on the players taking to the pitch, however, as Slovenia showed in their qualifying effort, they have fostered a great team spirit as well as a simple, effective style of play that means they are difficult to break down, and possess a real goal threat from set pieces.
The result of this match will depend upon which team settles down best in the nervy atmosphere of a World Cup opener. It is expected that Slovenia, with the more solid attitude, could edge this match, though a 1-1 draw seems to be the most likely result, either side could nick this match by the odd goal.
With USA holding a good looking England side to a 1-1 scoreline in the other Group C opener last night, a win for either side today would do their qualification hopes a great deal of good. Losing this match, on the other hand, would leave a real uphill struggle to qualify as it would place the loser at the bottom of the group, with two difficult matches remaining.
That makes this a “must win” game. Football shows us that must win often means can’t win.
This could be an edgy match, and, as the sides are reasonably similarly matched, they might cancel each other out too. That said, games like this can sometimes provide the best entertainment in large tournaments as both teams may play with the freedom allowed by being the group’s lesser lights.
Expect a draw and, if neutral, hope for early goals.