What: FIFA 2010 World Cup
Who: England vs Algeria (Group C)
When: Friday 18th June, 2010, at 19:30 UK Time
Where: Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, South Afria

Capello’s Men Have Room for Improvement

After a disappointing draw with the United States in their opener England will be desperate to return to action in order to kick start their tournament. The Three Lions’ build up to the Algeria game has been dominated by Robert Green’s goalkeeping howler, Ledley King’s continuing injury problems and Franz Beckenbauer’s criticism of England’s style of play. Fabio Capello is still to decide whether to stick with the under fire Robert Green or hand the gloves to the veteran David James or take a new approach entirely with the in form but inexperienced Joe Hart. Up front the Italian coach has stated that either Emile Heskey or Jermain Defoe will partner Wayne Rooney.

Desert Foxes Need to Show Some Fight

Les Fennecs have their own goalkeeping problems after Faouzi Chaouchi was culpable for Slovenia’s goal as he completely misjudged Robert Koren’s speculative effort, although the ball and altitude were later pinpointed by the team as factors. Despite their poor performance and defeat at the hands of Slovenia confidence appears high in the Algeria camp as they prepare for their encounter with England. Portsmouth’s Nadir Belhadj has labelled England’s defence as ‘weak’ and he is confident Algeria have the means to cause the Three Lions problems.

Recent form

England 3-1 Mexico (24/05; Friendly)
England 2-1 Japan (30/05; Friendly)
England 1-1 USA (12/06; World Cup – Group C)

Republic of Ireland 3-0 Algeria (28/05; Friendly)
Algeria 1-0 United Arab Emirates (05/06; Friendly)
Slovenia 1-0 Algeria (13/06; World Cup – Group C)

Players to watch

England – Gareth Barry: The Manchester City midfielder has become an integral part of the England set-up under Fabio Capello, primarily in the midfield holding role alongside the more attack minded Frank Lampard. Barry’s World Cup was threatened by an ankle injury he sustained playing for City towards the end of the Premier League season, but Capello showed faith in the former Aston Villa captain by selecting him in the squad despite lingering doubts about his fitness. Credit must go to the midfielder who has worked tirelessly to get himself fit, even sleeping in an oxygen tent. If Barry does, as expected, start it should help England have more fluidity in midfield and allow them to play more of a passing game.

Algeria – Karim Ziani: Like most of this team-mates Algeria’s playmaker had a bad day at the office against Slovenia. The midfielder has good pedigree having played in the Champions League for both Marseille and Wolfsburg. The Desert Foxes desperately need Ziani to draw on that experience if the African side are going to pull off what would be a big shock against England.

Match prediction

With Germany looming large for the team that finishes second in Group C this is a must win game for the Three Lions and ideally one they need to win by a good margin to help their goal difference. The 1966 winners will find it difficult against an Algeria team that will sit back and defend for large periods. Playing at sea level should help Capello’s men and after a frustrating first half England will run out 3-0 winners after a much improved display in the second period.

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