Group of Life where maybe everyone has a chance

Discussion in 'Group H: Belgium, Algeria, South Korea, Russia' started by Iranian Monitor, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    There realy isn't much to separate any of the teams in this group. Sure, Belgium has better talent and will therefore be considered a favorite to advance out of this group and most will see Algeria as destined to finish last among the four. But the differences are still so minor between all of these teams that anything really can happen in this group. This group is really up in the air. Any of the teams in this group, including even Algeria, have a chance.
     
  2. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    The Belgians were already the big movers for money ... 250/1 at the beginning of this campaign, 16/1 before the draw and after they were as short as 14/1 ... a price that is still being taken (better deals could have been made ... looked at several bookmakers).

    Compared to their opponents ... the punters really believe in Belgium:

    - Algeria, a bargain at 3000/1
    - Korea, another steal at 600/1
    - Russia, a distant second at 80/1

    We're clear favourites in our first and last match ... Russia will be tighter ... ok we look good on paper but hey we'll also be playing on imported Belgian grass ... where it counts :thumbsup:.

    @VincentKompany tweeted: Belgium, Algeria, Korea Republic, Russia. Interesting but tricky because there is no hiding for us, next round is a must
     
  3. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    For Belgium, this is very much a dream draw. For everyone in the group, however, it is the same too!:D
     
  4. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Unlike another huge favorite to survive the group stage, Argentina ... Belgium and Brazil have 'easy' groups (at least they're perceived this way) but will most likely face a tough competitor in the R16. France probably was the most lucky of all non-seeded teams ... they're favored over the Swiss and can get an 'easy' R16 opponent too.

    When both Argentina & Belgium come in first and we meet in the QFs then our little vacation will definitely be over (most likely they'll steam through to the QFs as their R16 opponent will be 'weaker' than ours). As runners-up we'd move to the left side of the KO stage ... there you can encounter one of the weaker quarter-finalists ... yet I'd like to avoid Germany in the R16 ... they're in a tough group and it could be a war of attrition ... but I don't think we'll be able to conserve energy in our group too ... I would have liked stronger opponents in our group, e.g. Chile, as they'll come at you and we'll get to see more attractive football.
     
  5. GoYoungrokba

    GoYoungrokba Member+

    May 21, 2009
    Club:
    Suwon Bluewings
    Nat'l Team:
    Korea Republic
    This is indeed the dream draw ;).

    We can't afford to drop any point against Russia. I hope Hong learned some lessons from the defeat we suffered on last November. We should have our hands full on defending set-pieces and using Son Heung-min wisely on counter.

    We have rarely lost to African sides in the international competitions. That should give us psychological edge against Algeria. Son Heung-min and Kim Jin-soo had already defeated the Algerians at the U17 WC back in 2009.

    Again Son will be key against the mighty Belgians, especially if they fail to secure minimum of 4 points in their first two ties. If that's the case, they will be all-out for attack to score which will allow us to play counter-attacking style of football. The style really suits Son's strength so that we have some chances.
     
  6. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    You'll sit back too? Not a lively group at all then ... fair chance of being bored to death in this group ... not a dream draw for the fans of attractive football :sleep:
     
  7. Gentile82

    Gentile82 Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Club:
    Montpellier HSC
    Is Kevin de Bruyne still an important part of Belgium's play? If so, are any fans worried he is not getting enough playing time at Chelsea? Still, he will be very fresh for June...
     
  8. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    During the qualifiers KDB earned his MOTM awards ... without a shadow of a doubt he's one of our most gifted youngsters while his club form has translated quicker than that of Hazard who's building up momentum (check e.g. opta stats to see how decisive KDB was in the previous season). Of course he can undulate and then it's safer to keep playing him on the RW ... at least until he's more comfortable in the middle of the park. Most likely KDB makes a move in January ... probably not a permanent transfer (Chelsea quoted a big hurdle of 30M euros which is 4x what they paid 2 years ago + KDB can only play for Chelsea in the UCL + if he performs as he's supposed to in Brazil, he'll add to his transfer fee). Although there are many suitors coming from all big leagues ... the Bundesliga is KDB's preferred destination. Wolfsburg is leading the pack and preparing a formal transfer bid but I'm guessing that in the end KDB will be loaned out to the (Bundesliga) club that suits him best.

    Hazard is definitely better suited as an inverted winger on the left (interchanging when the situation demands) ... Mirallas (Everton) and Mertens (Napoli) are both adept on the left and the right ... so even now that Chadli (Spurs) and Bakkali (promising RW prospect) are having an injury laden season we won't lack depth ... one or more of Thorgan Hazard (best player in the domestic league + looking to move to a bigger club), Ferreira-Carrasco (Monaco) and Januzaj (Man Utd) might still make the cut. Regardless, when KDB is 'on fire' we prefer to see him on the pitch ... either out wide or more in the middle of the park ... although speculating can be fun, at the end of this season we'll know more about KDB's match fitness.

    Balance & organization are more important now that the team has come together well ... still there's plenty of individual talent in the team ... our most important guys are Courtois (probably the best Belgian of 2013 ... the awards our young non Barcelona GK receives are telling), Kompany (elevates more than the back 4 alone for club & country), Witsel (undisputed in the engine room) and Hazard (language lacks the superlatives to describe his progress for club & country).
     
  9. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Failed to mention Lukaku ... considering that Benteke is better suited to the way Wilmots likes to play and KDB's impressive 2012/2013 season + NT performances ... I thought KDB would have a bigger impact than Lukaku this season. So far Lukaku has proven how decisive he can be for club and by securing a WC berth in the Croatia tie for country. Almost all his goals have pushed Everton into a position where you wouldn't expect them to be. Although Benteke could regain form in 2014 (before his injuries he looked good in 2013) ... both will face more & more competition from other Belgian CFs that are making waves at the moment, e.g. Michy Batshuayi. The same applies for every spot on the team ... it can be good fun to speculate but we'll know more at the end of this season ... you can even look ahead to future tournaments as the next generations only seem to be a cut above the previous ones (those born in the noughties are already grabbing attention).

    PS looking forward to Liverpool vs Everton later this month as their previous encounter was the best BPL match I've seen this season.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    These aren't really predictions, but hunches more or less:

    Belgium v Algeria 2:0
    Russia v South Korea 2:1

    Belgium v Russia 1:1
    South Korea v Algeria 1:1

    Belgium v South Korea 2:2
    Russia v Algeria 1:1

    Standings

    1. Belgium 1 win 2 draws 5 pts +2 GD
    2. Russia 0 wins, 3 draws 3 pts 0 GD
    3. South Korea 0 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss 2 pts -1 GD
    4. Algeria, 0 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss 2 pots -2 GD
     
  11. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Don't ask why but I expect South Korea vs Algeria to be the most entertaining match in this group.
    Just hoping that Belgium can get the job done match after match and maybe we'll see attractive plays if we get into the KO stage ... doesn't matter which team qualifies from group G as they will have their spirits lifted surviving such a difficult group while there's only an off chance that we'll have the same feelgood factor ... a scenario that I'm already dismissing ... ideally we start slow, grow and transcend our best level when we need to.
     
  12. teammellieIRANfan

    Feb 28, 2009
    Club:
    Perspolis
    Nat'l Team:
    Iran
    I predict that Russia and South Korea will make it out of the group.
     
  13. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    While I see Belgium advancing, there are two facts that lend some credence to your prediction.

    First, Belgium just don't have a very good record against Asian teams, having lost to Saudi Arabia in World Cup 1994 and tied S.Korea in World Cup 1998. While those are old results, the only recent games they have played against an Asian team has been against Japan. Last game they played against Japan in November 2013, they lost 3:2 and before that, in 2009, they lost 4:0 to the Japanese. Thus, even though Belgium do have a favorable head to head record against S.Korea, with 2 wins and 1 draw (all 3 matches before 2000), their record against Asian teams nonetheless would hardly be comforting to their fans.

    Second, since qualifying to the World Cup, Belgium have been losing matches at home that you would expect them not to lose if they really were that good. True, Colombia are a very good team, but still losing 2:0 to them at home is not impressive. Losing the next match 3:2 to Japan would be even more cause for Beligum fans to be concerened.

    All that said, as I said, I fully expect Belgium to get out of this group even if they won't impress as much as their fans would like to believe they will and even though I see them crashing out very quickly afterwards.
     
    teammellieIRANfan repped this.
  14. raviept

    raviept Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    Braga
    Club:
    Sporting Braga
    Nat'l Team:
    Portugal
    I am skeptic about Belgium due to the fact that I don't know how well they play as a team. But you cannot ignore the quality of their squad. The names of the clubs of most players are scary, to say the least. And I have personally seen players such as Witsel, Defour, Kompany, and Fellaini, to know that they are good.

    I see this kind of arguments too often around this forum. With all due respect, this shouldn't be taken into consideration. History is only valid when there are obvious factors explaining it that still apply today. However, I do not not see any reason for thinking that Asian teams have any advantage over Belgium, especially when extracting this from a small number of games, where even the overall results are partially favourable to Belgium. We are assessing a completely different team.

    Belgium had great teams prior to the 90's and a decent side around 2000, but in between their record has been significantly poor. Using as reference more recent results is reasonable, but people also tend to put too much emphasis on friendlies, where the motivation of players is always dubious. As a neutral, I think Belgium is by far the strongest team on paper in this group. Russia and South Korea may be equivalent, although I haven't seen Korea playing recently. And Russia has a great coach, hence being a well organised team.
     
  15. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    While historical records aren't going to tell you how this Beligum squad will do against this South Korean team, they aren't irrelevant because they influence psychological aspects which are often very signficiant. If South Korea is put against a side that has often lost to, a side that has easily thrashed Asian teams in the past, it will be more timid, more brittle, and more prone to make mistakes. Conversely, against a side whom they have a good record, they might be more confident and play with more creativity. Talent on paper is seldom a decisive factor in the game of football where in the course of 90 minutes, a goal or 2 often separates two teams and those goals are very much influenced by who makes mistakes and who better exploites the opportunities that fall to them.
     
  16. raviept

    raviept Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    Braga
    Club:
    Sporting Braga
    Nat'l Team:
    Portugal
    The psychological factor is significant when you consider other aspects, such as the "name" of the opponent. I also agree that when the record against a team is significantly negative and recent there is a tendency for taking that into consideration. Portugal vs France is a great example of this, but here there are two additional conditioning factors: the name of France and their style of play. There are teams whose style is completely incompatible with that of other specific teams, and they always end up losing. But I honestly don't think the players feel any kind of pressure when they are faced with a mixed record, such as the one you mentioned, especially with so few or so old matches.

    As for the favouritism of Belgium, of course an analysis on paper may not reflect on the actual results, but in these discussions analysis will always be theoretical. And the best criterium for assessing a team's performance is its individual quality, as well as the ability of the team to perform well in official matches. Belgium proved that it can do that by finishing first in its qualifying group. It's not surprising that they are seen as dark horses. There is still the question of whether they will hold under the pressure of a World Cup. But their quality leads me to believe that they are by far the best team of this group, whereas the only cons against them are a set of friendlies, which should not be taken too seriously.
     
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  17. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Maybe its just me, but when it comes to judging how Belgium might do against S.Korea, I find their friendly against Japan a lot more telling their World Cup qualifiers against Croatia and the like! So, no, I take their friendly result against Japan seriously, although I don't take any result (friendly or otherwise) as dispositive on how a side will do in a future match. Every time a team plays, they play a new. You can beat an opponent 3:0 in one match even in the same tournament, and yet find yourself knocked out by that same team later in the tournament. It happens quite often actually. But until it happens, I do find the most analogous match Belgium have played to access how they might do against S.Korea to be their recently friendly against Japan.
     
  18. korfan

    korfan Member

    Aug 24, 2013
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Korea Republic
    Korea tends to sink or rise to the level of their opponent. Against Algeria we cannot afford to do this. This group is a tight group of unsung heroes and could be interesting. No predictions now, this is too tight.
     
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  19. Bran

    Bran Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    Nijmegen
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands
    Belgium should top this group. Even with some of their talent in poor form(Lukaku, Benteke) their overall pool of talent is far stronger than those of the other 3. As a Dutchman I have to look with envy with amount of midfield and defensive quality our southern neighbours have. They will have problems later on in the tournament I think with ultra defensive sides because the lack of solid strikers and their left/right backs who are prone to counters. I think Belgium will win from Korea but will get a draw against Russia as the Russians bunker themselves in and then win again with relative easy from Algeria. Korea are in a difficult spot, they have some great new upcoming talent but it doesn't really mend well together somehow. I get more of a Korea 2006 vibe of this team than a Korea 2010 vibe. Think they will beat Algeria but lose to Belgium and Russia. Algeria while looking as one of the weakest teams this cup has got something to hold on to with the upcoming talent of Ghoulam and the more consistent form of Feghouli , I doubt it will mean much in the end. I do think Algeria will snatch a draw against Russia, as Russia for some reason always seems weak against minnow teams.
     
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  20. Bosnian Diamond

    Bosnian Diamond Member+

    Aug 9, 2011
    Mars
    Club:
    FK Velez
    Nat'l Team:
    Bosnia-Herzegovina
    Why?
     
  21. zahzah

    zahzah Member+

    Jun 27, 2011
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    Apparently Nabil Bentaleb will play for Algeria, who has been a revelation for Tottenham (at least most of the time). Hopefully they won't cower like they did in 2010 and play some actual football.
     
  22. DzFooty

    DzFooty Member

    Feb 22, 2014
    As an Algerian, I'm honestly getting lots of laughs reading what people that don't know a thing about us have to say about our team. This is seriously getting silly. There is no way in hell we'd be considered the worst team in the World Cup if people even bothered knowing a little about our team.

    If any other non-powerhouse team in the WC had our squad they would be considered dark-horses. When it's Algeria, we're considered weak. We're perpetually considered weak, for reasons I don't quite understand. In 2010, Algeria had to qualify by beating Egypt, the African Cup winners from 2006-2010, twice (including the playoffs). Algeria also had Zambia, eventual 2012 African Cup winners, in their group. In 2014 qualification, Algeria needed to face a stingy Mali squad, third place winners in 2012 & 2013 African Cup, in the group stages as well as 2013 African Cup runner-ups, Burkina Faso, in the playoffs. That means in the past two World Cups, Algeria has had to face teams that placed in the African Cup, nine times in 15 qualification matches. There isn't a single African team that has had a harder path over that same time-frame. Are people honestly going to continually call us major underdogs against South Korea? A South Korean team that needed 96th minute goals to gain points against both Lebanon and Qatar? With all due respect to South Korea, they shouldn't go into the game as favorites - especially given their recent form and coaching troubles. Algeria has been in better form than South Korea and player for player they have a stronger squad. Heck, Algeria has as good a squad on paper as Russia. The only thing that really gives Russia the edge is Capello who's already had a dud of his own against Algeria (2010 vs. England).

    Anyone who says we're a defensive team hasn't watched us. Burkina Faso was using ultra-defensive tactics against us by playing without a forward in the playoffs. Algeria broke their defensive wall several times and scored 3 goals in two games. This includes a game played in 98 degree heat. In Burkina Faso's previous twelve competitive matches, they had only allowed 4 goals. In qualification as a whole, Algeria averaged 2 goals per game, only 9 other teams had a better ratio. Algeria was also one of the few teams in the WC that scored in all of their matches. Not such an easy feat if you've ever seen the poor conditions of the African pitches in away fixtures.

    Anyone who things we 'cowered' in 2010 probably didn't watch us either. Algeria won the possession battles in both the England and Slovenia games in 2010. They split possession with USA too. They had as many shots on goal as they allowed in 2010. Their two losses came on a howler by the keeper late in the game (Slovenia) and a stoppage time goal on a counter-attack after they brought all their men forward. Is this how you define cowering? Don't mistaken Algeria's impotent attack as 'cowering'. That's just asinine. Algeria in 2010 was missing its starting RW (Mourad Meghni) while having their star player, Karim Ziani, suffer from a severe hamstring injury. Kind of tough to finish attacks that way.

    When it comes to 2014, Algeria's team is much more attack-minded and probably has as much (if not more) talent than Russia and Korea in those positions. Sorry but I'd take an on-form Feghouli who's been tearing up La Liga, over anyone Russia or Korea has to offer - even Son.

    Consider that Algeria's 4th string RW and 4th string striker, Djamel Abdoun and Rafik Djebbour had great Champions League campaigns for Olympiacos between 2011-2013 scoring 5 goals and accumulating several assists.

    Under their new coach, Algeria hasn't even looked bad in their losses. Their loss to Burkina Faso away was on a penalty awarded on a non-deliberate handball that was outside the 18-yard-box (terrible call). In their loss to Togo in the African Cup, Algeria had 75% possessions, outshot them 20-3, but still got unlucky several times. Their loss to Tunisia was on an amazing desperation goal in stoppage time. Draws would have been fair results in all these matches. I'd even argue that Algeria should've won these games - the team did go into the African Cup as one of the favorites only to burn out in the end. The good thing is, the players that haunted us in all the losses were finally replaced by the likes of Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli, Left-Back), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan, CM), Aissa Mandi (Reims, Right-Back) and soon Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham, CF). Let's be honest, if Bosnia had those four players on their team, they would be considered a young team to watch.


    Continue putting Algeria as one of the worst teams in the World Cup. Continue labeling them as weak and an easy three points. Two-thirds of this squad has played in the Champion League and even more have played in the Europe League. You're only proving your lack of knowledge of this team.
     
  23. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Interesting introduction to the Algerian team. I have a question: while FIFA ranks Algeria highly (27), for some reason they rate poorly by ELO (59). (They rate even worse by SPI, which puts them 69th). Why is that? I ask because unless I know something about a team personally, I do rely on ELO to summarize how they have been doing in terms of their results.

    @ DzFooty
     
  24. zahzah

    zahzah Member+

    Jun 27, 2011
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    I don't know about SPI, but because its a historically based ranking CAF sides are generally ranked low in a self-fulfilling prophecy spiral, which can only be overturned by CAF taking numerous points away from other federations in international tournaments (while enhanced performances in intercontinetal friendlies would also help). Basically SPI functions in a closed finite number of points - for a federation to have more points it has to take it from other federations. Until that happens there will just be precious little points to be taken by CAF teams from intracontinental games. Thats why even the dominant teams in CAF football rarely manage to enter the top 20, simply because of the opposition they play.

    You should note that Algeria is still ranked 7th in Africa not much below South Africa or Cameroon. But all these countries are outside the top 50.
     
  25. zahzah

    zahzah Member+

    Jun 27, 2011
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    I just hope that Algeria doesn't come with the terrible anti-football of 2010 and instead will reinstate memories of 1982.
     

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