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War & Football 2010: Algeria

Megan Fox at the Transformers PremiereOperation Desert Fox

The General:

‘Cheik’ Rabah Saadane has been the Algerian national team coach four different times over his long career.  His first stint with the Desert Foxes dates back to the mid 1980’s and his most recent hiring was in 2007.  The coach is a former footballer himself and played briefly in France before he retired in the late 1970’s.  His nickname Chiek means the Elder or Wise One.

The Plan of Attack:

The Desert Foxes are known to play a 4-1-2-1-2 with a defensive midfielder and attacking midfielder making up the two 1 spots.  Captain Yazid Mansouri is the defensive midfielder anchoring the back side of the pitch and Rafik Saifi will likely be the starting attacking midfielder.

The Key Troops:

A team of unknown soldiers many of these men hope to be the Desert Fox’s secret weapon.  Karim Ziani and Mourad Meghni give the Algerian side potentially strong wing play this summer in their strongest unit the midfield.  Karim Matmour and Rafik Djebbour are probably the Algerian sides two best finishers and Hassan Yebda, Abdel Kader Ghezzal, and Madjid Bougherra on the back line are all solid contributors as well.

The Mission:

Algeria heads into the Cup under the radar and slightly fortunate that their rival favorites (US & England) have had a few critical players suffer some injuries.  Still Algeria is by far and away the weakest team as far as talent goes in the group and will need to play disciplined football to make to the second round and past that point.  But a lack of a real star will make their goals a bit more grounded this summer.

Potential Duds:

Algeria has among the worst potential betting lines in the Cup and they are considered probably the weakest African team playing for the Cup this summer.  The squad has the worst keeper of any team in their group and they also lack a consistent offensive threat to give the other team headaches.  Algeria will be lucky to earn more than a single point this summer.  

Final War Movie Rank:

Let’s be realistic folks.  The odds that Algeria has a movie made about their World Cup experience this summer is not very high.  But perhaps this summer could be their The Finest Hour?  Of course an hour is only two thirds of a match and isn’t enough.  More realistically this trip to South Africa will be known as The Longest Day.  Although the Algerians should be there a little longer than that.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Megan Fox Rules!

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