In a world, where every four years, 32 nations gather to determine a champion, only one team can hoist the World Cup trophy. [Cue the massive explosions.]
With apologies to "Iron Man 2," "Twilight" and whatever other blockbusters are headed to theaters this summer, none of them can compare to the most dramatic event of 2010: The World Cup.
The World Cup, in addition to being the only truly world championship outside of the Olympic Games, is the only tournament capable of providing the full range of human emotion:Anger, awe, boredom, depression, disgust, embarrassment, euphoria, frustration, guilt, misery, pride, rage and surprise
. The best screenwriters couldn't script some of those things.
To get you ready for the drama that will start unfolding on June 11 in South Africa, The Star and The Full 90 will introduce you to the teams, the key performers, what to look for and what to expect in this year's Cup.
The other "minnow" in the Group of Maximum Anglo-Attention...
AlgeriaGroup C THE BASICS
• Nickname: Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes)
• Colors: Green/White
• FIFA Ranking: 31
• How They Got Here: Tied with Egypt in African qualifying group, won a single-match playoff with their bitter rival, 1-0
• World Cup Pedigree:
2 World Cups ('82, '86), never progressed past the group stageTHE PLOT
Can a nation, whose top talent is often poached by their former colonizer France, come together as a unit to dispatch fears that their country isn't a football elite and is just lucky to be here?THE DIRECTOR
This is Saadane's fifth stint with the Desert Foxes. He was the boss during their last Cup appearance in 1986. He is considered the father figure of Algerian soccer and is known as "Cheik (The Wise)."LEADING MAN
The Wolfsburg (Germany) midfielder will be the engine that runs the attack. He's a gifted playmaker who can play centrally or on the wing. He's also pretty much their only high-level attacking option.SUPPORTING CAST
Antar Yahia (defender, Vfl Bochum, Germany) scored the game-winning goal to qualify Algeria for the Cup; Madjid Bougherra (defender, Rangers) is big guy (6'2") who will join Yahia in locking up the back line; Yazid Mansouri
(defensive midfielder, Lorient, France) is the captain and most-capped player for Algeria.LIKELY BREAKOUT STAR(s)
The front-line is either aging (Rafik Saifi, who is 35) or ineffective (Kamel Ghilas, who didn't play much for Hull City), that might open the door for 25-year-old Ghezzal (forward, Siena - Italy). He's considered the solution to the attacking problems.THE LIKELY VILLAIN
He's Algeria's most talented player, and he's also prone to picking up yellow cards.PRODUCTION NOTES
Against stronger, more talented sides (like the U.S. and England) they will try to clog the midfield with a 3-5-2. The midfield and defense are their strength, so expect everyone but the strikers to sit behind the ball.WHAT THEY'LL WEAR
IT'S SORTA LIKE...
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