Belgium vs Algeria 2014 World Cup Preview

The second last pairing to begin their respective campaigns at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Belgium and Algeria will lock horns in the opening battle of Group H at the Estadio Mineirao at Belo Horizonte on Wednesday morning.

Resounding favourites to begin their campaign at the FIFA World Cup in the best way possible, Belgium will need to ensure their defence is on-song from the opening whistle if they are to hold out a spirited Algerian attack known for causing headaches for 90 minute periods.

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Belgium

How They Will Play

Arguably one of the most talented squads at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Belgium boast an impressive attack, slick midfield and rock-solid defence, as well as two genuinely world-class goal keepers in regular choice Thibaut Courtois and Liverpool shot stopper Simon Mignolet.

Likely to field four defenders led by inspirational captain Vincent Kompany that will also include the likes of veteran Daniel van Buyten, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen, Belgium are one of the tournament’s standout defending units, and will be boosted further by regular holding midfielder Axel Wistel, who forms a key link between the defence and an impressive centre force of Marouane Fellaini and Moussa Dembele, as well and the likely wing pairing of Kevin De Bruyne and in-form weapon Eden Hazard. With goal-scoring machine Romelu Lukaku completing the Belgian line, the Red Devils are further boosted by such bench options as Adnan Januzaj and are a arguably the leading chance of progression to the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup from Group H.

Exhibiting exceptional skill on every corner of the pitch, Belgium will be looking to maintain possession and complete a lot of passes; tiring the Algerian side before laying continual pressure on a relatively unheralded defence via their pinpoint accurate strike force.

Player To Watch – Axel Witsel

While sharing the field with several ‘big name’ English Premier League players, Zenit St. Petersburg’s Axel Witsel arguably holds the key to the structure and success of the Belgian National Football Team, and is often referred to as Manager Marc Wilmots’ ‘Brain on the Pitch’. Covering the most ground in any given game for Belgium, Witsel is known for perfectly-timed defence as well as being a creator of chances when moving up in attack. Technically strong and physically imposing, Witsel is a chance to secure Player of the Tournament tag and will be aiming to impose in matches such as this.

Algeria

How They Will Play

Known for exhibiting a far-greater and talent-filled attacking quarter than that of their defence, Algeria are likely to field a 4-3-2-1 formation in order to stem what is likely to be constant pressure from a talented Belgian side.

Manager Vahid Halilhodzic will undoubtedly include every experienced player at his disposal in Algeria’s starting line-up including Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam in defence, Inter Milan’s Saphir Taider and Tottenham Hotspur’s Nabil Bentaleb in the centre of the park, and Sporting Lisbon’s Islam Slimani likely to feature as sole starting striker.

Likely to be unable to match the skill on ball of their European heavyweight rivals, Algeria will be aiming to expose gaps in the Belgian team with pace; something they exhibit in bucket-loads. Playing up each flank, the Algerians will attempt to find space for Slimani behind Kompany and co-defence of fast counter attacks.

Player To Watch – Nabil Bentaleb

Playing a key role in the late stages of Algeria’s qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Spurs’ exciting sub Nabil Bentaleb will need to find top form if his nation are any chance of salvaging even a point against Belgium. Fast on the ball and full of skill, the 19-year-old will likely spend a lot of time in defence, but will be Algeria’s go-to for attacking creation in the event of a fast counter.

Predicted Result

Belgium are clear favourites to comfortably do-away with Algeria in their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign-opening match, and with class, speed, experience and plenty of goal scoring ability, things do not appear promising for the North-African nation tomorrow morning.

Qualifying for Brazil with relative ease, Belgium should have no issue in comfortably beating a young Algerian outfit.

Belgium vs. Algeria World Cup Betting Plays

Belgium are currently available at 2014 World Cup odds of $1.36 to beat Algeria at leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au, with the Desert Warriors offered at $8 to cause a huge upset.

With the Algerians needing to salvage points wherever possible if any chance of qualifying from the tough Group H, punters may find value to placing a bet on a draw with Belgium tomorrow morning, currently offered at a quote of $4.33.

A gun in the air for club side Manchester City, Belgian captain Vincent Kompany is currently offered at unbelievable odds of $9 to score a goal at any time during his nation’s match with Algeria.

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