Germany heavily favored over Algeria in World Cup knockout stage
By Ian Palmer
Germany, one of the 2014 World Cup favorites, will be taking on Algeria in the knockout stage of the event at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre on Monday, June 30. The Germans found themselves competing in Group G, which was considered to be one of the tournament’s groups of death as it consisted of Portugal, Ghana, and the USA as their opponents. They didn’t advance until their third and final game, but ended up winning the group with seven points on a pair of wins and a draw.
Germany handed Portugal a 4-0 thrashing in their first game, but the Portuguese were down to 10 men at 2-0 when defender Pepe was red carded for head butting Thomas Muller. This seemed to motivate the German as Muller scored a hat trick in the game. Their next contest was an exciting end-to-end affair against Ghana and the Germans had to fight back to earn a 2-2 draw. They needed just a tie against the USA in their final outing, but Muller scored his fourth of the tournament to give them a 1-0 victory. They’re now headed to the second round for the ninth straight World Cup tournament.
Algeria finished as runners-up in Group H behind Belgium with four points from a win, draw and loss. They were edged 2-1 by Belgium in their opening match and then bounced back to double South Korea 4-2 in their next outing. They needed at least a draw against Russia in the group finale and that’s just what they got as the game ended 1-1. Algeria will be competing in the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time in their history here. The Desert Foxes as they’re nicknamed are huge underdogs, but Germany would be wise not to underestimate them.
There’s no doubt Muller has been carrying the offensive load for Germany. He did the same thing four years ago in South Africa where he won the Golden Boot as the World Cup’s top scorer with five goals. He now has nine in his last two World Cups and still has a long way to go in Brazil. Lionel Messi of Argentina and Brazil’s Neymar also have four goals in 2014. Bastian Schweinsteiger has recovered from injury and is playing well, but if he’s not healthy enough to go 90 minutes expect to see Sami Khedira in his place in the midfield.
Germany will play a possession game and attempt to create as many scoring chances as possible. They’re strong defensively, but prefer to play in their opponent’s end as often as they can. Algeria can’t afford to sit back all game long and soak up pressure as they need to score at least once to advance to the quarterfinals, unless this game goes to extra time and penalty kicks. Algeria’s top attacking threat has been striker Islam Slimani with two goals. He needs to create some trouble in Germany’s end of the pitch if Algeria hopes to be successful. Winger Sofiane Feghouli and could also be a key player for Algeria, but they still have a tough task ahead of them.