Just like our last opponent, Slovenia, Algeria is located on the Mediterranean Sea, but it is obviously on the southern coast because it is the second largest African nation. Founded in the 11th Century, Algeria has overcome adversity to become one of the brightest lights for democracy on “The Dark Continent” (as they call it @ Busch Gardens in Tampa).
Though Algeria is relatively small in population (3.5 million), its soccer team packs an extremely powerful punch.
Who will star for them against the States? Yahia plays the role of Captain and defensive enforcer, and he should have no trouble donning both caps and he will be the most versatile villain the Yanks will face when they take on The Desert Foxes (one of the coolest team nicknames). Belhadj is also a defensive wunderkind and either Chaouchi or M’Bouhli will man the net. Sure, they have only made it to one previous Cup and they have yet to score at this World Cup. But…
Algeria should not be overlooked by the Yanks. This team has one thing that many others don’t: tenacity. They have to prepare for the biggest tournament in world sport in a land where an Islamic insurgency wreaks violence on a daily basis. Also, at a recent match, violent hooligans attacked the team’s bus. They have shown their strong will in their first two games, and many experts have opined that they are now prepared to stoically face the States at the World Cup.
How have they done so far? In their first game against Slovenia, they gave up a late goal to Koren to cede three points. In the second game againt England, they rebounded to play solid defensive soccer and pitch a shut out. In order to beat Algeria, the Yanks will need to get on the board early (and often). The offense must move through Donovan, and both he and Dempsey need to take as many chances as they can to put that pelota in the back of the freaking net.
I think they both will score and the US will win 2-0 and advance to the knockout stages.
Will my prediction be correct?
We will have to wait until Wednesday morning here in the States to find out.