Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015
World Cup 2014

Algeria 4 South Korea 2: Highlights, key battles, and what this result means

Published on Jun 23, 2014 5:50 AM
Algeria's midfielder Nabil Bentaleb (left) fights for the ball with South Korea's forward Koo Ja-Cheol during a Group H football match between South Korea and Algeria at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

What a difference 90 minutes has made for Algeria's World Cup history. The African side scored just two goals in 11 hours and 25 minutes of World Cup football before this match. By the final whistle, they had tripled the number of goals on this stage.

A match that many had thought would be a bore turned out to be a goal fest and a complete rout as Algeria destroyed the South Koreans 4-2. Park Chu Young, in particular, again failed to make any impact on the game.

Perhaps pressed by the fact that a defeat would send them home, Algeria started the surer, more determined side while their opponents failed to show up until the second half.


- Where do we begin with the dismal, devastating defence (if any) that Korea put up? Algeria began knocking on the doors of the South Koreans within minutes and it seemed just a matter of time before they found the key to unlock the wall.
True enough, the opener came through a long looping ball from Carl Medjani. It finds Islam Slimani, who despite being chased by two centrebacks pokes it just over goalkeeper Jung for an opener.

- That was all it took it open the floodgates. Algeria continue to apply pressure, with their second goal coming swiftly two minutes later from a corner. Keeper Jung makes a poor decision to come off his line and Rafik Halliche, making a run in with nobody tracking him, thumps a powerful header in.

- Another defensive error allows Abdelmoumene Djabou way too much space in the box. Slimani, who attracts three red shirts to him, plays back to Djabou who easily strokes the ball in for a quick 3-0 lead.
Up until now, the South Koreans have only managed to look clueless, short of confidence and seemingly unable to keep possession. They fail to make even one attempt at goal in the first half.

- The half-time break seemed to help the Asians screw their head back on, a little if not fully. Son Heung Min grabs one back for his side in the 50th minute when he manages to break free from Algeria captain Bougherra, nutmegs goalkeeper Rais to salvage some pride for his team.

- The goal clearly helps the South Koreans regain some confidence, but they are soon outclassed by some sublime combination by Feghouli and Brahimi that started outside the box.

- South Korean captain Koo Ja-Cheol knees one in from close range in the 72nd minute after a pass from substitute and goalscorere against Russia Lee Keun-ho.

Key battles:

Islam Slimani/Djabou/Brahimi v South Korean defence

Without even mentioning how disorganised and lost they looked, South Korea's back four also had trouble dealing with the 1.88m-tall Slimani's aerial prowess. Evident from the second goal (Slimani-Djabou combination) that they too easily come together tightly and lose sight of other threats.

South Korean midfield v Algeria midfield

The combination of Djabou, Brahimi and Feghouli really outshone their counterparts in this match. The trio strung good passes in the middle, feeding Slimani with the passes he needed to take the team forward. The South Koreans were too happy sitting back and rarely made an attempt to stop the Algerians from moving forward.

Man of the Match

Yacine Brahimi

Five spot-on changes were made to Algeria's starting line-up from their match against Belgium, but Brahimi completely justified Vahid Halilhodzic's choice to pick him today. Ran his lungs out and scored the best goal of the four after combining impressively with Feghouli.

What this result means

Neither side advance or are eliminated from this result, although it is hard to see South Korea coming back from this. They play Belgium - who already have a place in the last 16 after two victories - next and unless get a sweet favour from them, are probably headed home.

Algeria now take second spot behind Belgium in Group H and play Russia next. If they show up against Fabio Capello's men like they did today, they have a good chance of progressing. A draw against Russia - if South Korea are beaten by Belgium - would be enough to send them through.