Needing a win in order to make it through to the last 16, Al Hain-Cole thinks a lack or creativity and carelessness in defence may see the Sbornaya slump to a 1-1 drawRussia and Algeria go head-to-head in Curitiba on Thursday in what looks likely to be a straight shootout for a place in the last 16.
Despite failing to win in Brazil so far, Fabio Capello’s men are 11/10 (2.10) favourites with Paddy Power to collect three points that would move them above their opponents and into the knockout stages, barring a shock South Korean victory over leaders Belgium in the other Group H clash.
However, having recorded a first World Cup win in over 30 years in resounding 4-2 fashion against South Korea last time out, Les Fennecs are available at 13/5 (3.60) to come out on top and progress past the group stages for the first time in their history.
A draw would also probably be enough for the North Africans considering their strong goal difference, and you can get odds of 5/2 (3.50) on them holding out for a crucial point here.
Capello will not have fond memories of facing these opponents at the World Cup, having overseen a drab 0-0 draw while in charge of England in South Africa four years ago.
The veteran manager will be desperate to avoid the same fate tonight, having insisted that his side will go all out for their first win of the tournament.
This must-win attitude should see the Sbornaya play with a freedom that has so fat been lacking in the tournament, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev both staking claims for inclusion in a more attacking line-up.
However, this necessity to push forward is likely to also leave gaps at the back for Vahid Halihodzic’s men to sweep into, just as they did to great effect against the Koreans.
Considering Russia have already given away sloppy goals in their previous two fixtures, odds of 8/11 (1.73) seem reasonable on both teams finding the net for Algeria’s third consecutive group game.
Nevertheless, a lack of real cutting edge could well cost Capello’s side, with odds of 11/2 (6.50) well worth backing on them falling short with a second 1-1 draw of the tournament.
|Both teams to score for a 2pt stake at 8/11 (1.73) with Paddy Power
||1-1 Draw for a 1pt stake at 11/2 (6.50) with Paddy Power
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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.