Its match day 3 of the FIFA World Cup and already we have seen blunders, missed chances and a serious case nerves being displayed right across Groups A and B. The number of goals scored stands at 7 and with Group C action set to start proceedings on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether today’s round of fixtures will exceed expectations for the millions of fans watching.
It is undoubtedly a big day in Africa as 2 of the continents representatives will take to the pitch in a bid to make up for Nigeria’s slender 1-0 loss to rivals Argentina yesterday. However, it also a big day for German and Australian footballing loving fans as they prepare to cheer their teams through what is expected to be a very exciting game.
The biggest surprise of all has to be the host nations 1-1 draw with El Tri of Mexico. I have to admit i am more surprised as to why Bafana Bafana did not grab all the 3 points on offer on Friday. Although Mexico dominated in the first half, whatever Carlos Alberto Perreira told his boys during the 15 minute break must have sparked some belief in the squad because frankly they did not look like the same South Africa.
Yeah probably SA should have won that game 3-2 considering all the chances they had and not forgetting Mexico’s denied goal but despite that, their top place position in Group A really looks nice even if you are not a fan of South Africa like myself.
That said, all eyes will focus on today’s matches. Algeria kicks-off the days action at 1130GMT at the Peter Mokaba Stadium against Slovenia. Not much is known about Slovenia, however the fact that they are in the finals is a big enough statement that they should not be underestimated. Slovenia finished 2nd behind Slovakia and ahead of favoured Czech Republic and Nothern Ireland to qualify for a play-off against Russia which they drew 2-2 but progressing them to the finals on the away goal rule.
Algeria are still favourites to win the match and i say this objectively. The Desert Foxes are in the finals in their own right after beating Egypt 1-0 in a tension filled play-off match in Khartoum last November. With the likes of Chaouchi in goal and a tight defense that includes: Haliche, Belhadj, Bougherra and Bellaid, the Algerians will be hard to break down.
Surprisingly, Slovenia are ranked 5 places above Algeria by FIFA in position 25. With no big stars to in their ranks, Slovenia rely’s majorly on their ability to play as a team.
My prediction for this match is however is 2-1 in favour of Algeria. Main reason is because i expect the Slovenians to put up a hard fight against the North Africans.
As for the Ghana- Serbia match, i expect the Black stars to win by at least a 1 goal margin. The West Africans might be missing their captain and star player Michael Essien but that does not make them outright losers.
However, Serbia might shock the Black Stars by winning because frankly, they are very weak compared to 2006 when they reached the Quarter finals. My predictions are most of the time wrong, but then again, there is no harm in knowing what i am thinking.
Photo credit: from Pyngodan