Algeria-Cote d’Ivoire Preview: Topping Group D not priority for the Elephants

Cote D’Ivoire will seek to give playing time to their second eleven during Group D’s final matchday against the Fennecs who no longer hold their initial strength of purpose


Belkalem, Ghoulam, Mesbah, Tedjar
Lacen, Kadir, Boudebouz, Aoudi
Soudani, Slimani

K.Toure, I.Traore,
Lolo, Boka
Y.Konan, Razak, Bony, Romaric
L.Traore, A.Kone

Algeria have been eliminated from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations following their losses to Tunisia and Togo in their first two games, but bowing out in a bright fashion could define new horizons for the Fennec Foxes and their coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who could lose his job if the north Africans, earlier tipped as one of the favourites of this edition, record a complete flop in all three outings.

The Bosnian has been able to rejuvenate the outfit to some extent since his arrival in July 2011, which his bosses have publicly commended. The 2013 Afcon was an occasion to showcase the strength of the promising new outfit, but the project fell short in South Africa and he remains the only one many will blame.

Halilhodzic, who formerly coached Cote d’Ivoire, had vowed to punish the west Africans on Wednesday for the abusive dismissal handed to him by officials in 2010, but now, he could be the one to bear the punishment upon their return if he fails for the third time in a row to record a win or at worst a draw.

Cote d’Ivoire will have few calculations to make as they take on Algeria. Coach Sabri Lamouchi says they are prepared to meet whoever emerges from Group C in the quarter-finals, and thus there is no need to fight to finish on top of Group D or otherwise to avoid one side or the other. They will play their game, fix their faults and focus on the challenges ahead in the tournament.

The Frenchman will likely opt to observe his second eleven against the Fennec Foxes on Wednesday while letting his veterans to refresh ahead of the quarter-finals.

  • Algeria is the second best national team in Africa, currently at 22nd position on Fifa ranking behind Cote d’Ivoire in 14th.
  • Algeria had their biggest defeat against East Germany in 1980, which ended 5-0.

  • Algeria have participated in 15 Afcon finals, winning the title in 1990 at home.

  • Cote d’Ivoire currently have the highest number of African professionals based in Europe after Senegal, according to French radio RFI.

  • Former Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora is Cote d’Ivoire’s most capped player, with 107, while Didier Drogba remains all-time top scorer with 59 goals.

  • Cote d’Ivoire have won the competition once in 1992, finished as runner-up twice in 2006 and 2012 and third place four times.