Countdown: Introducing Group H on World Cup
In Group H are leading two teams (Belgium and Russia), and many expect that they pass on. However, it is certain that the in advance should not write off always awkward South Korea, while Algeria considered by many as an outsider
In one of the relatively easier groups to call in the tournament, this group is only exciting because of the young talents on offer. In Belgium, we have an up-and-coming team with some of the most talented midfielders in Europe at the moment; with Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Nacer Chadli backed up by the massive Marouane Fellaini and the expensive Axel Witsel, Belgium has proven that it is certainly no pushovers.
Thibaut Courtois is also one of the best goalkeepers in Europe at the moment, and with star defenders Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany at the rearguard, Belgium look set to qualify even if Fellaini’s afro get’s so long it covers his eyes.
Algeria is another team with many doubts hanging around them; requiring to go to the play-offs to qualify, the team has yet to win a game in the World Cup. This may be their second consecutive (and third overall) appearance at the finals, but it certainly does not look like their stay would get any longer; apart from the Inter Milan duo Saphir Taïder and Ishak Belfodil, and the talented Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli, Algeria frankly has little chance of making any impact at the World Cup.
On the other hand, Russia is an interesting entity; following their success at Euro 2008 led by a certain Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal fans, remember him?), the subcontinent failed to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa before crashing out meekly in the group stages of Euro 2012.
Back again this time around, they are led by none other than Fabio Capello, one of the most decorated managers of all time whose achievements include two La Ligas, five Serie As and the UEFA Champions League among others, his most noteworthy to date being to lead England to the World Cup (with their whining and histrionics, this is quite something).
This Russian team is pretty impressive too, with Igor Akinfeev having just gone 12 hours without conceding a goal and the hot prospect Alan Dzagoev, whose trickery could be a game-changer when he is fit.
South Korea is an interesting proposition as well, with them heading into their ninth (and eighth consecutive!) World Cup finals. With a growing presence in Europe and the Premier League, South Korea boasts talents such as Lee Chung-Yong and Kim Bo-Kyung, along with other European-based players such as the young star Son Heung-Min and Sunderland midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng.
Yet, the journey to Brazil has not been easy, with poor performances prompting the resignation of coach Choi Kang-Hee. New manager Hong Myung-Bo was the captain of the Korean side which finished fourth at the World Cup in 2002, but it looks unlikely that Korea will go any further than the group stage this time around.