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Match Previews

World Cup 2014 Group H Preview

11 June 2014

By Rhys Griffiths

The World Cup begins in Brazil tomorrow when the hosts take on Croatia, and in the days leading up to the tournament we have been previewing each of the eight groups. Today we look ahead to what's in store in Group H.

Belgium

Long tipped by the football hipsters as the team to watch in Brazil, Belgium's position ahead of the likes of England, France and Italy in the pre-tournament betting means they can no longer truly be considered the dark horse of the summer. But it's not hard to see why this golden generation of les Diables Rouges are being looked at as serious contenders since Marc Wilmots' squad is full of talent and has a spine of Premier League players including Vincent Kompany at the back, Eden Hazard in midfield and Romelu Lukaku up front.

Algeria

In South Africa last time around Algeria went home after the group stages having failed to score a single goal, but since taking over the Desert Foxes in 2011 manager Vahid Halilhodzic has brought through a youngers generation of players and there is hope for an improved performance in Brazil this summer. Veteran defender Madjid Bougherra, who played for a number of clubs in England and Scotland, is bringing down the curtain on his international career in Brazil, while Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli could be one to watch.

Russia

Led by former England boss Fabio Capello, the Russians have built a reputation for being well organised and prepared to run themselves into the ground. The defence, marshalled by CSKA Moscow man Sergei Ignashevich, conceded just five goals in 10 qualifying matches ahead of Brazil, while the attacking threat is likely to come from Alexander Kerzhakov of Zenit St Petersburg and Alexander Kokorin of Dynamo Moscow.

South Korea

Joint hosts with Japan in 2002, South Korea have established themselves as World Cup regulars and Brazil will be their eighth consecutive appearance at the finals. Coach Hong Myung-Bo was captain of the 2002 side that reached the semi-finals and he will look to the young Bayer Leverkusen attacker Son Heung-Min to provide an offensive spark.

Group H Fixtures (all times UK)

June 17th, 17:00: Belgium v Algeria - Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
June 17th, 23:00: Russia v South Korea - Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba
June 22nd, 17:00: Belgium v Russia - Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro
June 22nd, 20:00: South Korea v Algeria - Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
June 26th, 21:00: South Korea v Belgium - Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
June 26th, 21:00: Algeria v Russia - Arena da Baixada, Curitiba


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