Saadane prefers to keep his tactics under wraps as Algeria play it safe

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The Independent Online

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane is remaining tight-lipped over his tactical approach to his side's World Cup opener against Slovenia. The north Africans face the European outsiders in Polokwane on 13 June, before coming up against their tougher opponents in Group C – England and then the United States.

They face one final warm-up game against United Arab Emirates in Germany today and will be desperate to end a four-match losing streak. But Saadane said: "All the teams have by now had three weeks or so of preparations. If you look at the results of some of the other African teams such as Ghana and Cameroon, they have also failed in warm-up games. So, the result of a friendly is not important, as some think. All I can say is that the team will be ready for the World Cup."

Asked about his plans for the clash with Slovenia, Saadane continued: "The 11 players that will start are in my head. But when you go to war, you never tell the enemy of your plans."

The Algerians have endured a troubled build-up to the tournament, losing one of their star players, Mourad Meghni, to a knee injury while other key squad members such as Madjid Bougherra, Hassan Yebda and Carl Medjani have been struggling with niggles.

Australia's squad are unhappy about the quality of the training pitch they will move to ahead of their first group D match and are considering using a new ground.

Pim Verbeek, the Socceroos' coach, believes that the field at the Ruimsig stadium, near Johannesburg, had deteriorated over the past year. "We are thinking, of course, about plan B and plan C but let's see first how it looks," he said yesterday before the warm-up match against the United States to be played at the ground.

Australia move to a new base just outside the city after the friendly and will train at Ruimsig following 10 days at a Johannesburg school. They face Germany in their first group game on 12 June, and then play Ghana (19 June) and Serbia (23 June).

Verbeek said that a change of venue would be good for the team and could help their mental preparations before the crucial Germany match. However, he hoped the training pitch would hold up.

"When I was here last year it was fantastic, so I don't know what has happened," he said. "On the other hand it is just 10 days... I'm not so sure we will destroy the pitch in 10 days but if that's the case I think we will have to find another place."

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