Algeria Team - 2014 World Cup Betting
Best Finish: Group Play, 1982, 1986 and 2010
Manager: Vahid Hililhodzic
Captain: Madjid Bougherra
Key Player: Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia)
Group H: With Belgium, Russia and South Korea
After a 24-year drought, Algeria made it back to the World Cup in 2010. However, the celebration was rather brief for the "Fennec Foxes" as they failed to win a match in group play. Their lone bright spot included a tie against England, which is something to build upon in their second straight trip to the Cup.
It was certainly no cakewalk for Algeria to make the 2014 World Cup, though. This team played well in their CAF Group H assignment, winning five out of six matches against the likes of Mali, Benin and Rwanda. They stumbled in a two-legged playoff match at Burkina Faso, losing 3-2. But Algeria beat Burkina Faso in a return match in Blide, where captain Madjid Bougherra was the hero, scoring the lone goal in this 1-0 victory.
The win was enough to vault this team to a second consecutive Cup appearance, where they'll be hoping to improve greatly upon 2010's results. The team's manager, Vahid Hililhodzic, has done a solid job of blending previous holdovers like Bougherra, Rafik Djebbour, Carl Medjani and Hassan Yebda with talented young players in Yacine Brahimi, Islam Silmani and Sofiane Feghouli.
Speaking of the latter, Feghouli could've played for France, which he represented twice in U21 play. However, he chose the Fennec Foxes for the World Cup, and this gives Algeria a chance to win in group play. Feghouli provides his team with an added dimension in their attack since he can play the right side or just off the striker.
But can Feghouli and the rest of this squad do enough to make it through group play? Many analysts are predicting yet another early exit because Algeria is a little lacking in the defense department. Plus, this team is still developing young talent and may need another four years before they're truly ready to make some noise. Assuming they can win at least one match in 2014, it would go a long ways towards pumping up a nation that's trying to establish themselves as a feared team on the international scene.