5 Algeria players to watch at the World Cup
May. 31, 2014
Under coach Vahid Halilhodzic, Algeria has more flair and scores more goals.
The well-organized and technically assured side starts at the back, where rugged center half Madjid Bougherra runs the defense. At full back, Faouzi Ghoulam has also impressed.
The main attacking threat comes from Sofiane Feghouli, who is arguably the team's best player. Halilhodzic will be counting on him to unlock defenses in Brazil.
Here are five players to watch:
Sofiane Feghouli is Algeria's most skillful player and has proven himself in Spain over the past few seasons with some impressive performances at Valencia.
The 24-year-old winger played for France's under-21 side and was even close to a call up for the senior team before pledging his allegiance to Algeria. Coach Vahid Halilhodzic gave him his international debut three years ago.
The Parisian-born Feghouli, who has scored five goals in 17 international appearances, has everything to trouble defenders: pace, skill, passing and an eye for goal. But he has also been plagued by inconsistency.
Like Sofiane Feghouli, French-born Faouzi Ghoulam chose Algeria after playing for France's under-21 team.
A quick, skillful left back who likes to push forward, Feghouli made his Algeria debut last March during World Cup qualifying and set up a goal in a 3-1 win over Benin.
At club level, he came through the youth ranks at Saint-Etienne and soon became a first team regular. His impressive performances earned him a high-profile move to Serie A, where he plays for Napoli.
His older brother, Nabil Ghoulam, represented France in cross-country running at the world championships in 2004.
Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra has been a mainstay in central defense over the past 10 years.
One of his best performance's for the Greens was against England at the last World Cup, where he kept striker Wayne Rooney at bay as underdog Algeria secured a 0-0 draw.
The 31-year-old Bougherra has played more than 60 times for his country, but the rugged defender's club career has been more successful. He won three straight league titles with Scottish club Rangers and was a fan favorite before being sold to Lekhwiya, where he scored on his debut and won the Qatar Stars League in his first season.
Rafik Djebbour has yet to carry his club form over to the international scene.
He has found it easy to score at club level, however, netting 39 league goals in 56 games for Greek side Olympiakos. The going has been harder in England's second division and so far he has struggled for games and goals since joining Nottingham Forest from Turkish team Sivasspor in January.
At 30 years old, time is running out for Djebbour to make his mark on the international stage.
EL ARBI HILLEL SOUDANI
El Arbi Hillel Soudani has impressed this season with some solid performances for Dinamo Zagreb and goals for Algeria.
The 26-year-old Soudani can play all across the attack and is more of a clinical finisher than Rafik Djebbour. He has scored 10 goals in 20 appearances for the Greens, including the winner in a 1-0 victory over Mali in World Cup qualifying last September.
After two seasons with Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes, where he scored fairly regularly despite often being on the bench, Soudani made his mark in the Croatian league by grabbing 12 goals in his first 17 starts.