‘We have nothing to lose’ says Bougherra
AlgEriA defender Madjid Bougherra believes all the pressure is on England ahead of their group C encounter in Cape Town on Friday.
Bougherra’s side lie bottom of the pool having lost their opening match 1-0 to Slovenia on Sunday, but the 27-year-old is comforted by the fact they are only one point behind Fabio Capello’s side.
And, as England were the favourites to top the group at the outset, the Rangers centre-back reckons they are the ones who have more to worry about ahead of the clash at the Green Point Stadium.
“England are a big player with a good mentality and a lot of experience,” said Bougherra, one of the more experienced players from a nation playing in the World Cup for the first time in 24 years.
“It is our a first World Cup for our players so we have nothing to lose. We are not just thinking about the World Cup but also about the future.
“We will do our best to portray a good image of Algeria. We have a good spirit and have nothing to lose.”
Bougherra, who had stints in England with Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton and Crewe, expects Capello’s side to improve after a stuttering start in the 1-1 draw with the United States on Saturday.
“It was a strong game between England and the USA. Both teams played hard with a good spirit,” he added.
“There was frustration for England and also for the USA, but it was a good result because it gives us a chance as England and the USA have just one point.
“England are the favourites but big teams usually start slowly and finish high. I expect England to get better.”
Algeria are likely to pose a threat to England at set-pieces, with Bougherra and fellow centre-back Rafik Halliche strong in the air and Portsmouth left-back Nadir Belhadj showing against Slovenia he can produce plenty of decent crosses.
However, they also displayed a lack of quality in the final third and rarely looked like beating goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
The one man who did make the breakthrough was Slovenia captain Robert Koren, released by West Brom for financial reasons at the end of this season.
His 25-yard shot did not appear to pose too many problems until Faouzi Chouchi misjudged the bounce and allowed the ball to go in off his shoulder.
NO PrESSUrE ON US: Says Algeria’s Madjid Bougherra.