Algeria

Full Squad:

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

Defenders : Carl Medjani (Valenciennes), Aissa Mandi (Reims), Madjid Bougherra (Lekhwiya), Faouzi Ghoulam (Naples), Rafik Halliche (Academica Coimbra), Essaid Belkalem (Watford), Liassine Cadamuro (Majorque), Djamel Mesbah (Livourne), Mehdi Mostefa (AC Ajaccio).

Midfielders : Sofiane Feghouli (Valence), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan), Medhi Lacen (Getafe), Abdelmoumen Djabou (Club Africain), Yacine Brahimi (Grenade), Hassan Yebda (Udinese), Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester).

Forwards: Islam Slimani (Sporting Portugal), Hilal Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb), Nabil Ghilas (FC Porto).

LIKELY ALGERIA XI FOR 2014 WORLD CUP

Best Ever Finish: Group Stage (1982, 1986, 2010)

Manager: Vahid Hililhodzic 

Captain: Madjid Bougherra

Pitted against Burkina Faso in the compulsory African section playoffs, Algeria were facing the very real prospect of missing out on the 2014 World Cup. The Fennec Foxes fell to a 3-2 defeat in Burkina Faso, but were able to sneak through on away goals after a 1-0 win in Blida, with a goal from skipper Bougherra.

This tournament will mark consecutive World Cup’s for Algeria for the second time in their history. And whilst most will remember their dreary and abrasive efforts in the 2010 World Cup, this is a team much improved from the one that played in South Africa four years earlier.

Most notably because Hilihodzic has done his best to integrate some promising young players, especially in attacking areas. Players like Yacine Brahimi, Islam Slimani and Sofiane Feghouli have talent, and they are complimented well by the physical influences of Bougherra and Adlene Guediora.

Nabil Bentaleb also takes his place in the squad, and looks set to start in central midfield after a breakthrough season at Tottenham.

Hilihodzic has struggled to introduce similar quality in the defensive positions though, and this is arguably the biggest challenge facing this team ahead of their fourth World Cup bow. But he will be hoping the team can maintain similar solidarity and togetherness to the 2010 side, who were notoriously difficult to break down. England, of course, found this out to their peril.

They have a pedigree for upsets, having famously beat West Germany in their opening game of the 1982 World Cup. Can they cause a similar stir in South America?

Probably not, and an early exit beckons for Algeria. This team is still a work in progress and have little in terms of big game experience within their ranks.

Pages 1 2