South Korea and Algeria still have everything to play for when they face each other at Estadio Beira-Rio for their second Group H fixture. Both teams lost points from winning positions in their first matches. Algeria were undone by two second-half Belgian goals after a 25th-minute penalty from Sofiane Feghouli had given them a shock lead over the group favourites, while Aleksandr Kerzhakov rescued a point for Russia against South Korea.
Algeria's defensive approach invited Belgium to complete their comeback in the last 20 minutes at Mineirao, something coach Vahid Halilhodzic knows his team cannot afford to replicate in Porto Alegre if they want to make a serious qualification push. "I feel very disappointed. We missed it. We could have won. My players allowed Belgium to hold and use the ball for too long without chasing and breaking," he said after the match. Now they are expected to show some of the attacking prowess they exhibited in the CAF Qualifiers, with goalscorer Islam Slimani an option in attack, although El Harbi Soudani should retain his spot.
Whichever man Halihodzic goes with, they will be expected to benefit from Sofiane Feghouli's skill and creativity in midfield. The South Korean side, for their part, will also be determined to get a better result on Sunday, with coach and former World Cup veteran Hong Myung-bo praising the Warriors' performance against Russia last time around, despite suffering a late equaliser in a fairly even match. "I want to thank to my players, who did their best until the last minute", the coach said. "I think it worked well. The condition of the players and the organisation of the team was good." No big changes should be made from the 4-4-2 that almost secured victory over the Russians a few days ago, with attacking starters Heung-Min Son and Chu-Young Park expected to do better in southern Brazil.
This is South Korea and Algeria’s first World Cup encounter.
Their only previous meeting was in a friendly on 14 December 1985 in the Mexican city of Nezahualcoyotl, with the game ending in a 2-0 win for South Korea.
South Korea are unbeaten in their two previous World Cup games against African sides, winning against Togo in 2006 (2-1) and drawing against Nigeria in 2010 (2-2).
Sofiane Feghouli’s goal from the penalty spot against Belgium was the only shot that Algeria managed to hit on target in their opening game.
In fact, Algeria attempted only three shots (inc. blocked) in the whole match against Belgium – no side attempted fewer in the opening round of group stage matches.
South Korea have won just one of their last six World Cup group stage games (Won-1 Drawn-3 Lost-2).
Algeria have scored just two goals in their last 11 hours and 25 minutes of World Cup football.
Algeria have finished bottom of their group stage table with one point in each of their last two World Cup participations (1986 & 2010)
South Korea have ended the group stage with a record of P3 W1 D1 L1 in each of their last two World Cup participations (2006 & 2010).