World Cup | Group H Preview

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Group H is considered as a less fancied group to many, with only Belgium a real threat to cause problems in Brazil.

All eyes will be on Belgium in Group H, with many expecting Russia and Korea Republic to battle it out for second place.

Belgium vs Algeria
(Estadio Mineirao)
Wednesday 2am AEST

In its first appearance in a major football tournament since the 2002 World Cup, Belgium do not only go in as favourites to win Group H, but are also seen as a team that can go far in Brazil and surprise some of the favourites along the way.

This Belgium side is considered as a ‘Golden Generation’ in its homeland, with players such as Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and captain Vincent Kompany guiding their country to the World Cup after an impressive qualifying campaign.With eleven of its 23-man squad all plying their trade in the English Premier League, this Belgium side will be a challenge for any team and will fancy its chances heading into its first contest against Algeria.

Its opponents Algeria will look to its last World Cup in South Africa for motivation as they held England to a goalless draw, and were only narrowly beaten by Slovenia and USA losing 1-0 in both matches.

Algerian manager Vahid Halilhodzic will have a full squad with no injury concerns as  Saphir Taider, Faouzi Ghoulam and Nabil Bentaleb  will be expected to start.

The African side has done well to qualify for the tournament and will be hopeful of surprising its opponents, as they have no pressure heading into the tournament.

Belgium will be hoping for an easy win to start the tournament, knowing that South Korea and Russia will provide a sterner test in the following games. Therefore I’m predicting a comfortable 3-0 win for the Belgians to kick-off the campaign.

Russia vs. Korea Republic
(Arena Pantanal)
Wednesday 8am AEST

This is considered a must win game for both sides, with many predicting Russia and Korea Republic will battle it out for the second position in Group H.

The Russians under the leadership of Italian Fabio Capello will be hoping to put in a good performance in Brazil before they host the tournament in 2018. Capello is confident in his sides abilities and believes that they can advance from the group, and further.

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev will have to be at his best throughout the group stage and striker Alexander Kerzhakov must be in goalscoring form to help the Russians progress.

The only setback for the Russians and a big one too is captain Roman Shirokov who will miss the tournament because of injury. The midfielder is a key player in Fabio Capello’s side  and will be a tough player to replace.

This will be the Koreans eighth consecutive World Cup appearance, and will be hoping to impress just as they did in 2002, where they reached the semi-final of the tournament on their own turf.

However this time around a similar outcome is not expected.

Son-Heung min is the one to watch for the Asian nation as the twenty-one year old has already five goals to his name at international level. They will rely on their energy and speed to beat its opponents, starting with the Russians.

This is one of the more tightly contested matches of the opening games, however, I am expecting the Russians to win a close one, with both teams to score. 2-1.

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