Group H World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014 Group H

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GROUP H

Belgium Algeria Russia South Korea

[Team Jersey Images © Soccerphile]

Belgium

Classic Football Shirts.

Belgium are one of the most improved teams in the world and are back at the World Cup after a 12-year hiatus, with a powerful squad in all positions drawn from the major European leagues in Spain, Italy, England and Germany. Much is expected of the current team, who have a strong spine starting from Atletico keeper Thibaut Coutois, through centerback Vincent Kompany, midfield pivot Axel Witsel and front man Romelu Lukaku. Chelsea's Eden Hazard provides the flair on the wing alongside fellow youngster Kevin De Bruyne. Other top class players include Moussa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli and the X-factor Adnan Januzaj. The Diables Rouges reached the second round in the 2002 World Cup and were unlucky to lose to eventual-winners Brazil. We fully expect them to reach the second round where they could face Germany or Portugal.

Fixtures

Belgium team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Belgium team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Belgium Kit 1
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Belgium Kit 2
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Belgium v Algeria 17 June; Salvador
Belgium v Russia 22 June; Rio de Janeiro
Belgium v South Korea 26 June; Sao Paulo

Coach

Marc Wilmots became assistant to Dick Advocaat in 2009.

Record

1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1970, 1998 First Round; 1982, 1990, 1994, 2002 Second Round; 1986 fourth place.

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Eden Hazard is yet to really recapture his club form with the national side but a World Cup is the perfect stage for his precocious talents. Dries Mertens could also shine as an impact sub.

Predictions & Latest Odds

We are backing Belgium to make it to the quarters.
World Cup 2014 Betting

How they qualified

Belgium qualified by topping European qualifying group A scoring 18 goals and conceding only 4, finishing 9 points ahead of Croatia.

On the sidelines

The Belgians will stay at the Paradise Golf & Lake Resort at Mogi das Cruzes, near Sao Paulo, close to all their group fixtures.

Analysis

Belgium Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Hoffenheim), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid, on loan from Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele (both Tottenham), Steven Defour (Porto), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (both Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Divock Origi (Lille), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg)

Strikers: Romelu Lukaku (Everton, on loan from Chelsea), Dries Mertens (Napoli)


Algeria

Algeria, nicknamed the Desert Foxes, have progressed as a side since a mediocre showing at World Cup 2010 in South Africa, where the Algerian team failed to score a goal. With more French-born players than those raised in their African homeland, Algeria boast a well-drilled squad who have chances to progress if they can take points from South Korea and Russia and maybe catch Belgium cold in their opening group game. Coach Vahid Halildodzic prefers a 4-3-2-1 formation with emphasis on discipline and defensive solidity, hoping to score on the break or from set pieces where ex-Rangers centerback Madjid Boughera, now in Qatar, is dangerous. Up front Sporting Lisbon's Islam Slimani is expected to carry the attack along with El Arabi Soudani, who plays his football in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb.

Fixtures

Algeria team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Algeria team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Algeria Kit 1
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Algeria Kit 2
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Algeria v Belgium 17 June; Belo Horizonte
Algeria v South Korea 22 June; Porto Alegre
Algeria v Russia 26 June; Curitiba

Coach

Vahid Halildodzic

Record

1982, 1986, 2010 First Round

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo will make sure all eyes are on him when Algeria take the field. William Carvalho has been winning plenty of admirers at Sporting Lisbon.

Predictions & Latest Odds

We predict Algeria will not exit the group.

How they qualified

Algeria came through the African qualifiers winning on away goals against Burkina Faso in Round 3.

On the sidelines

Algeria will base at the Pitangueiras Hotel near Sorocaba, 176 miles north of Curitiba.

Analysis

Algeria Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Rais Mbolhi (CSKA Sofia, Bulgaria), Cedric Si Mohamed (CS Constantine), Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche (USM Alger)

Defenders: Essaid Belkalem (Watford, England on loan from Granada, Spain), Madjid Bougherra (Lekhwya Club, Qatar), Liassine Cadamuro (Mallorca, Spain), Faouzi Ghoualm (Napoli, Italy), Rafik Halliche (Academica Coimbra, Portugal), Aissa Mandi (Stade Reims, France), Carl Medjani (Valenciennes, France), Djamel Mesbah (Livorno, Italy), Mehdi Mostefa (AC Ajaccio, France)

Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham, England), Yasine Brahimi (Granada, Spain), Medhi Lacen (Getafe, Spain), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan, Italy), Hassan Yebda (Udinese, Italy)

Forwards: Abdelmoumene Djabou (Club Africain, Tunisia), Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia, Spain), Nabil Ghilas (Porto, Portugal), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City, England), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Hilal Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia)


Russia

Russia have one-eye on World Cup 2018 which they will host and as a result expectations are low for this tournament, despite optimism over the appointment of Capello as coach. Russia's squad is aging, slow and defensive. Russia last played at a World Cup in Korea/Japan 2002 and the poor performances of Russian club sides in European competition in recent years does not bode well for a better performance at this year's tournament. Capello will play either a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 system with young hope Alexander Kokorin as the lone striker.

Fixtures

Russia team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Russia team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Russia Kit 1
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Russia Kit 2
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Russia v South Korea 17 June; Cuiaba
Russia v Belgium 21 June; Rio de Janeiro
Russia v Algeria; 26 June; Curitiba

Coach

Fabio Capello took over from Dick Advocaat in 2012 after a problematic stint in charge of England.

Record

1970, 1990, 1994, 2002 First round; 1982, 1986 Second Round; 1958, 1970 Quarter Finals; 1966 fourth place

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Dynamo Moscow's Alexander Kokorin packs a punch in front of goal.

How they qualified

Russia topped European qualifying Group F, one point ahead of Portugal.

On the sidelines

Russia will stay at the luxury San Raphael Country Hotel in Itu.

Analysis

Russia Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Lodygin (Zenit St Petersburg), Sergey Ryzhikov (Rubin Kazan)

Defenders: Vasili Berezutskiy (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Dynamo Moscow), Andrey Eshchenko (Anzhi Makhachkala), Sergey Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Alexey Kozlov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semenov (Terek Grozny), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow)

Midfielders: Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Zhirkov (Dynamo Moscow), Alexey Ionov (Dynamo Moscow), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Victor Faizulin (Zenit St Petersburg), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Krasnodar)

Strikers: Maxim Kanunnikov (Amkar Perm), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow)

South Korea

This is a Korean team that is fairly young but with a reasonable amount of experience. Just one of the 23 to go to Brazil has celebrated his 30th birthday and Kwak Tae-hwi, injury cost the former captain a place in the 2010 team, is unlikely to make the starting eleven. All hope that the defence doesn't need the old warhorse. Kim Young-gwon and Hong Jeong-ho are the central partnership at the back and much depends on the youngsters. Defensive issues almost cost the Taeguk Warriors a place in Brazil, especially set pieces which caused chaos on a regular basis. The group appears navigable. Russia, Algeria and Belgium don't hold too many fears, though as it is seen as relatively easy, expectations have risen at home. Whatever the group, Korea would hope to get to the second round.

Fixtures

South Korea team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. South Korea team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

South Korea Kit 1
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South Korea Kit 2
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South Korea v Russia v 17 June; Cuiaba
South Korea v Algeria 22 June; Porto Alegre
South Korea v Belgium 26 June; Sao Paulo

Coach

Hong Myung-bo played in every World Cup from 1990-2002 and took over the reins of the national team from Choi Kang-hee.

Record

1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006 First Round; 2010 Second Round; 2002 Semifinals

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

The central defender Kim Young-gwon is one of the most highly-rated playing in Asia, perhaps even the best. If he has a good tournament he should be on his way to Europe.

How they qualified

South Korea came through Asian qualification with some difficulty, second behind Iran in Group A, scoring 13 and conceding 7.

On the sidelines

South Korea will base at the Bourbon Cataratas Convention and Spa Resort in Foz do Iguacu near the borders of Argentina and Uruguay.

Analysis

South Korea Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryeong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Horang-i), Lee Bom-young (Busan I'Park) 

Defenders: Kim Jin-soo (Albirex Niigata), Yun Suk-young (QPR), Kim Young-kwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Hwang Seok-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg), Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal), Lee Yong (Ulsan Horang-i), Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa Reysol)

Midfielders: Ki Seung-yeung (Sunderland, on loan from Swansea), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol), Park Jung-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers), Ji Dong-won (Augsburg) 

Strikers: Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Arsenal), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Horang-i)