South Korea vs Algeria: World Cup 2014 match preview

North Africans must overcome fear factor that cost them against Belgium

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The Independent Football

Vahid Halihodzic hopes his that Algeria players can overcome the fear factor that he believes cost them a point in their opening Group H fixture against Belgium.

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The Desert Foxes face South Korea in Porto Alegre today looking to make amends for conceding two goals in the final 20 minutes of their 2-1 loss to Belgium, and Halihodzic said it was important to learn from that painful experience.

“There was perhaps the fear of going for it and I saw players who won the ball and just stopping,” he said. “When you win the ball back, you have to carry on playing, attacking, trying to score a second, but there was fear and fatigue and it was psychological.”

Algeria have not won a World Cup finals match since 1982 and Halihodzic saw the evidence of a “psychological block” at the end of the Belgium match, even though his players did end a run of 506 minutes without a goal in the tournament thanks to Sofiane Feghouli’s first-half spot-kick.

He added: “They played differently in the last 20 minutes. I said at half-time, it is good but you have to keep pressing and when you have the ball you  have to play it and attack. Why did we do otherwise in the last 20 minutes?”

Halihodzic would like a victory as a “nice present for the Algerian people” – not least because a defeat would eliminate them – but he stressed that it would “not be easy as the Korean team are better than Algeria”.

The Koreans’ World Cup record is certainly better and they are looking to maintain an unbeaten record against African teams in the competition. The Asian side’s coach, Hong Myung-Bo, was wary of Algeria – “they've got a lot of excellent forwards, they are very quick, very dynamic players” – and expects a more offensive approach from them than against Belgium. As for his own side, he predicts a positive effort to build on their opening draw with Russia. “We're going to play to win, because we absolutely have to win to hope to reach the next round,” said Hong.