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Saturday, June 12, 2010
Algeria-Slovenia preview notes

Posted by ESPN Stats & Information

Algeria versus Slovenia -- Sunday, June 13
Peter Mokaba Stadium -- Polokwane, South Africa


" Clash of the "Giant Killers" meeting in Group C's second game: Algeria (conquerors of African champions Egypt) and Slovenia (which downed mighty Russia).

" Algeria's youth: 11 players are 25 or under, and only three players are in their 30s -- goalkeeper Lounes Gaouaoui (32), captain Yazid Mansouri (32) and striker Rafik Saifi (35).

" Slovenia is looking to make history by winning its first World Cup game. It lost all three games at the 2002 World Cup in its only other appearance.

Series history

First meeting

What to look for

" This World Cup will debut a surface using 20 million threads of synthetic grass fibers woven in between and beneath the natural grass. The first test of this surface will be at this game. The stadium in Nelspruit will also use the same type of turf.

" Algeria's injury woes: Playmaker Mourad Meghni will miss the World Cup with a knee injury, and defensive anchor Madjid Bougherra is still struggling with a calf injury that saw him miss the end of the SPL season with Rangers.

" Slovenia's bonus payment dispute: In 2002, an internal rift saw Slovenia implode at the finals, and the players are already fighting with the federation over 2010 bonus payments.

From the research room

" Seventeen of the 23 members of the Algerian squad were born in France.

" Algeria scored only four goals in six games at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations with a goals/shots conversion rate of a meager 7.6 percent.

" Milivoje Novakovic was involved in 11 of Slovenia's 20 goals during 2010 qualifying (five goals, six assists).

" Thanks to a solid defense and reliable goalkeeping by Samir Handanovic, Slovenia conceded only four goals in its qualifying group, the fewest in a six-team group. During qualifying, it beat group winner Slovakia home and away.