The Scouting Report: Algeria

An inside look at England's rivals in tonight's World Cup match


Karim Ziani, left midfield

Comfortably Algeria's most dangerous and creative player, who can operate on either flank and was deployed on the left against Slovenia although they played him on the right flank in the last qualifier. The French-born player's big money move to Marseilles in 2007 did not work out and he struggled to win a regular starting place at Wolfsburg last season, falling out with a team-mate, then picking up niggling injuries. But now fully fit, the acknowledged star of the side, who played in all but one of Algeria's World Cup qualifiers, is the player most likely to cause damage and he might be best placed to test England's goalkeeper. His dipping corners with the Jabulani caused Slovenia trouble last Saturday.

Karim Matmour, centre midfield

Generally a right-midfielder, he was used in an attacking midfield role against Slovenia, looking to get forward at every opportunity to support Rafik Djebbour, who he played behind against Slovenia. In training this week, the Borussia Monchengladbach player was rehearsing a role as a striker though it is a sign of the paucity of Algeria's striking options that a player who has scored two goals in 23 games, should be relied on for that role. Needs must, though. Djebbour was poor against Slovenia, his replacement Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off and the other experienced striker, Rafik Saifi, is too old, at 35, to play a role from the start. Rabah Saadane may turn to the young Sochaux striker Ryad Boudebouz.

Anther Yahia, centre-half

The newly appointed captain, he was the first player to benefit from Fifa's rule change allowing him to represent Algeria U-23s in an Olympic qualifier against Ghana in 2004 even though he had represented France at U-18 level. Scored the winner against Egypt to help Algeria qualify for the World Cup and is now considered a national hero. He was born in Mulhouse to Algerian parents, he came through the academy at Sochaux before joining Internazionale but that did not work out and he returned to France with Bastia before joining Nice. He joined Bochum on loan in January 2007 and signed for them permanently the following summer.

Faouzi Chaouchi goalkeeper

Things happen to him. Good shot-stopper, indecisive with crosses and back-passes, loves acrobatics, and head-butted a referee in Africa Cup of Nations semi-final. Blundered against Slovenia.

Madjid Bougherra, right-back

Shifted from central defensive role at Rangers to right-back for Algeria. A leader, though not the most mobile.

Rafik Halliche, centre-half

Reads the game well but a bit short on pace – one of the reasons Jermain Defoe has been in contention. Delivered two of Algeria's best efforts on goal against Slovenia

Nadir Belhadj, left-back

One of the best players against Slovenia, operating on the overlap. Saadane sent him to a Qatar fitness clinic in his desperation to have the Portsmouth man fit.

Hassan Yebda, centre midfield

France junior international central midfielder who made his Algeria debut in September. Neat and tidy though not a dominant figure.

Medhi Lacen, centre midfield

A product of Saadane's Europe-wide search for new talent, who had never been to Algeria until picked for the national team. Neat, tidy and hard-working though should pose no threat.

Foued Kadir, right midfield

Hardworking and industrious player, though shouldn't threaten Glen Johnson down England's right. Operated on the right against Slovenia, although generally a central midfielder.

Rafik Djebbour, striker

Poor against Slovenia so he was substituted though his replacement, Siena's Abdelkader Ghezzal, was then sent off.

In association with The Scouting Network

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