South Korea vs. Algeria: Halilhodzic's Brahimi Gamble Pays off in Goal Blitz

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 22, 2014

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: Yacine Brahimi of Algeria scores his team's fourth goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between South Korea and Algeria at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 22, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Algeria destroyed South Korea, 4-2, in Porto Alegre on Sunday, with a first-half-goal blitz sealing the result early on.

Islam Slimani opened the scoring after a route-one ball. Then, Rafik Halliche doubled the lead with a bullet header from a corner.

Abdelmoumene Djabou stroked a third home before half-time, which was essentially the final dagger. Early in the second half, Son Heung-Min and Yacine Brahimi traded blows to round out an entertaining contest.


Formations and XIs


South Korea went unchanged from their opening 1-1 draw against Russia, playing a 4-2-3-1 with Ki Sung-Yueng in the centre and Heung-Min on the left.

Algeria stuck with their 4-2-3-1, too, but they brought in Aissa Mandi (RB), Brahimi (AMC), Slimani (ST), Djabou (LW) and Djamel Mesbah (LB).


Marauding Full-Backs

Algeria were a tough team to call ahead of this fixture, unless anyone had caught their pre-tournament work in preparing for the finals, as they were a bit of a mystery in possession.

Against Belgium, they sat deep in a low-block and frustrated, then moved into counterattacks quickly using speed on the wings. That's all well and good, but how are they in space with the ball at their feet?

Pretty good, it turns out.

South Korea stood in shock as the Desert Foxes moved the ball fluidly from side to side, pushed their full-backs all the way up and created chance after chance around the box.

Mesbah and Djabou combined well down the left.
Mesbah and Djabou combined well down the

The early focus was on the Mesbah-Djabou combo play on the left flank, but after a while, it began spreading to the right and using Mandi as well. Brahimi was excellent holding on to the ball and sustaining pressure.

Deep crosses, quick interchanges, dribbles, set pieces and long balls in behind the defence; a little like France, there didn't seem to be a method in which Algeria didn't threaten.


Son the Only Hope

Conversely, South Korea's first 45 minutes proved they still hadn't really worked out an offensive game plan aside from giving it to Heung-Min.

The Bayer Leverkusen man frequently slips into pockets of space between the lines when operating from his inverted left-winger role and did so to great effect against Algeria.

Son receives a fair few more passes than Park.
Son receives a fair few more passes than

At times, the players tried to force it into his path, unfortunately well aware of Park Chu-Young's inadequacies as a striker and feeling as though Son was the only option.

Anything positive in the final third during the first half came from his left foot, and it was his goal early in the second half that renewed his nation's hope of a result.


Defensively Inadequate

It wasn't the first time in this tournament—and bear in mind that's a sample size of just two games—that South Korea proved the defensive concerns over their line coming into the World Cup were warranted.

Particularly, they struggle greatly when faced with quick, interchanging passing in front of the box and concede space like no tomorrow.

The centre-backs get their wires crossed in tight spaces and can bunch up unnecessarily; Aleksandr Kerzhakov found that out to his own advantage in the first game, while Djabou and Brahimi prospered here.

Kim Young-Gwon is South Korea's most impressive defender, but he has a long way to go. Hong Jeong-Ho has even more work to do.



South Korea have been a massive disappointment in this tournament.

They played their best football so far in the 15-minute spell following half-time here, pressing better and scaring Algeria into thumping it upfield, but Brahimi's goal sucked the life out of them, and they struggled to get themselves going again.

Striker is a big problem, as is central defence.

Algeria, on the other hand, excited the crowd, entertained the neutrals and scored a great variety of goals. Millions who decided to give this match a go will be tuning in to see the Desert Foxes play Russia next week.

"I would like to dedicate this victory to the fans who were here and the Algerian people back home who have waited a long time for this victory," Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic told after the game.


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