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Jon Riley 11th Jun 2010 - 17:49

Slovenia to slay the Algerians?

Both teams know they need to win this match if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for the next stage.

The two group favourites meet in Rustenburg a day before this encounter so Algeria and Slovenia know that these three points at stake could be crucial.

Rabah Saadane's Algeria will go into this opening match of the tournament without possibly his most influential player. Mourad Meghni, the Lazio playmaker, who was dubbed ‘Le Petit Zidane' after helping France to the 2001 U17 World Cup before opting for Algeria has been sidelined by a knee injury and will miss the entire tournament.

Saadane has made some changes to the starting 11 these last days. He decided to bench captain Yazid Mansouri for the team's World Cup opener against Slovenia on Sunday because his form is not good enough. That will allow Hassan Yebda, Fouad Kadir and Medhi Lacen to be together in the starting 11 for the first time.

The Desert Foxes are priced 12/5 to win their first game at the World Cup finals since a 3-2 defeat of Chile in 1982.

Rafik Djebbour (13/2 first, 15/8 anytime) and Abdelkader Ghezzal (7/1 first, 2/1 anytime) are the main points of attack for the Algerians and they'll need to be sharp to get past a Slovenia defence that was the second tightest in qualification in the whole of Europe.

Slight favourites to take the three points in this group stage encounter are Slovenia. They can be backed at 5/4 to defeat their North African opposition.

Coach Matjaz Kek will be looking to his side's leading goalscorer in qualifying, Milivoje Novakovic, to fire the team to victory. The Koln striker scored 5 times in in qualifying to boost his side's chances of progression. He is 5/1 to break the deadlock and 5/4 to score anytime.

As mentioned Slovenia's watertight defence was the main reason for their impressive qualification campaign. If they can shut out Algeria they should be confident of victory.

My recommendation for this game is for the Slovenians (5/4) to slightly edge out Algeria. With both sides knowing that a victory is imperative if they are to proceed, both teams to score could be worth a shout at 23/20 as well.



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