World Cup Group H: ‘Belgium's dark-horse tag remains intact'

Goal’s experts offer their reactions to the World Cup draw in Group H where Belgium, Algeria, South Korea, and Russia were pooled together
By Alec Fenn

Belgium boss Marc Wilmots will be a happy man after Friday's World Cup 2014 draw.

Having comfortably qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2002, the Red Devils will face Algeria in a winnable opener.
Fabio Capello's Russia are likely to provide their sternest test in the opening stage in Brazil, but they will be hopeful of seeing off Hong Myung-Bo's South Korea.

With several eye-catching groups sure to grab the headlines, Belgium will be hopeful of flying under the radar in Brazil, with their dark horse tag very much intact.

By Farouk Issam

Algerian players wanted to face the big names in the group because they have no hope in the knockout stage. After drawing Belgium, South Korea and Russia, this hasn't happened.

Algeria have landed in a fairly easy and accessible group, just as happened in the 2010 World Cup when they faced USA, England and Slovenia, where they picked up one point and finished bottom.

The difficulty of Group H for the Arab nation will be the big difference in speed compared with the three other teams in the group. With a slow defensive line, Algerian players will face many problems in front of these teams, which can call on quick counterattacks.

By Yonghun Lee

South Korea got a lucky draw there. Belgium, Russia and Algeria were not the strongest teams in their pots - though we have to remember that all three are not easy to beat.

Korea met Belgium in 1998 and played a good game to get a 1-1 draw, though Belgium are of course a different team now. Russia won a recent friendly against Korea 2-1 but their performance in the defeat will give them hope. Algeria are a unknown opponent but Korea have much more World Cup experience.

The first match against Russia is a must-win for Korea. Four points might not be enough to reach the last 16.

By Peter Staunton

Russia begin their World Cup adventure in steamy Cuiaba against South Korea. The Russians beat South Korea only last month in a friendly so will have the measure of their matchday one opponents.
Belgium's individual pedigree is unrivalled but their tournament mettle has not been tested.

Fabio Capello will be grateful to the draw for being paired with the north Africans once again. If Russia need three points from that encounter to go through, expect them to get it. Capello and his Russia team will be pretty satisfied with the draw handed to them and will be optimistic of making the knockouts.