Group H was supposed to be the weakest of the tournament and give Belgium a clear route to the knockout rounds. So far they have amassed maximum points from their two matches, but it has not been quite so easy for them.
This is yet another group that could see any one of the bottom three teams advancing to the next round depending on how results go. A win for Algeria coupled with a Belgium loss could see them top the group in place of the favorites. Belgium currently hold a +2 goal difference compared to Algeria’s +1.
A win for Russia over Algeria would see them take second and go through while a South Korea win along with a draw between Algeria and Russia would have them advance.
South Korea v Belgium – Thursday, June 26 @ 4pm:
On paper Belgium should cruise through this match. However, they should also have cruised against Algeria as well. This is probably a match that will feature mostly reserve players for Belgium since they are guaranteed to go through. Even so, they have more than enough quality players to get at least a draw and ensure they finish top of the table.
My prediction is a Belgium win, but South Korea will not go down easily. They still have a chance, albeit small, of qualifying and could produce a shock result.
Algeria v Russia – Thursday, June 26 @ 4pm:
Algeria has been rather impressive this tournament. They nearly did enough to earn a draw against Belgium, but just couldn’t hold on long enough. The same is true for Russia. With Algeria’s win over South Korea they will be the favorites going into the match. This is a match that Russia needs to win to be able to advance which could lead to them losing goals in their quest to score.
My prediction is an Algeria result and more likely a win. Russia could get a goal and force a draw, but Algeria will go out to prove they can win.