You would've got long odds on this Group H match being among the most entertaining and open games of the tournament, but Algeria's attack-minded approach and Korea's determination made this arguably the most compelling 90 minutes of the tournament so far.
Algeria flew out of the blocks, and although they didn't have a shot on target in the first 10 minutes, they had their opponents well and truly penned in. In fact, Algeria took just eight minutes to have more shots at goal (4) than they did in 90 minutes against Belgium (3).
Just as South Korea thought they'd found a foothold in the match, Algeria struck - not once, but twice. First, Islam Slimani galloped onto the end of Carl Medjani's long ball before tucking the ball past Korean keeper Jung Sung-Ryong. Just 90 seconds later, Halliche nodded in Djabou's corner after Korea's keeper went walkabout.
So, how did that happen? What did the two teams get up to in those 90 seconds...?
Barely 10 minutes later, it was 3-0; Djabou on the end of the pass this time, and tucking home tidily to seemingly put the game beyond the Asian outfit.
Algeria were dominant. At half-time they led the shooting stats 12 shots to 0.
Things improved in the second half, but not enough to ever really give Korea realistic hope of mounting a comeback. Hong Myung-bo's team scored twice through Son Heung-Min and Koo Ja-Cheol, but those two strikes sandwiched the best goal of the game, and one of the best of the tournament so far…
Brahimi burst forward, played a crisp one-two with Feghouli before beating the Korean keeper with a tidy finish. It was a moment of real quality that suggests this Algeria team are about more than just blood and thunder.
Now, having started the competition hugely unfancied, Algeria will be through to the knockout stages if they can pick up a point from their match against Russia. They may not have been placed in the strongest group, but to progress from it would still represent a huge acheivement for the Fennec Foxes.
Facts and figures
- Algeria ended a run of 7 World Cup matches without a win.
- Algeria scored more goals in this match than they did in their preceding 7 World Cup matches combined.
- There were more goals in this game than in Algeria's previous 4 World Cup matches combined (5).
- Algeria scored with 4 of their 15 shots on goal (including blocked shots); they managed 3 shots in total against Belgium (including blocked).
- 20 of the 23 shots in this game came from inside the penalty area.
- South Korea have won 1 of their last 7 World Cup group games.
- Rafik Halliche completed 31 first-half passes in this match, more than any Algeria player managed in total against Belgium.
- 24 of South Korea’s 31 World Cup goals have come after half-time (including 1 extra-time goal).
- The last 8 World Cup goals conceded by Algeria have come after half-time.
- Algeria became the first African team to score 4 or more goals in a World Cup match.
- South Korea have conceded 11 goals in their last 4 World Cup matches – they conceded 6 in their preceding 8.
- Of teams playing in this tournament, only Germany’s games in all World Cups have produced a higher average number of goals than South Korea’s 3.23.
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