Porto Alegre, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - With knockout round hopes hanging in the balance, Algeria and South Korea will each look to move up the table when they meet at Estadio Beira-Rio on Sunday.
The match will obviously be a must-win for Algeria. In surprising fashion, the Desert Foxes scored first in the team's opener against group-favorites Belgium, but Vahid Halilhodzic's men failed to hang on, surrendering two goals in quick succession in the second half. The lone goal for Algeria came on a 25th-minute penalty kick, converted by Sofiane Feghouli.
Belgium battled back in the final 20 minutes with goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens, leaving Halilhodzic to ponder what might have been.
"I'm left with the disappointing feeling of having come close to achieving something great," Halilhodzic said. "We weren't far away from pulling off an upset."
South Korea was unable to hang onto its lead against Russia, too. After pulling in front in the 68th minute of the opener on Lee Keun-Ho's shot from distance, the Koreans surrendered a 74th-minute equalizer, and the match ended in a draw.
"We didn't get the win, but we can be happy with the draw," said Korean boss Hong Myungbo. "It was our first match of the competition and opening matches are always difficult. Even so, I'm happy with what I saw."
This matchup will likely be heavily contested in the midfield. For Algeria, Feghouli and 19-year-old Nabil Bentaleb will be the key pieces, bringing a high work rate and versatility to the offense. Ki Sung-Yueng and Kim Bo-Kyung are central to South Korea's midfield play.
As the Koreans still have to face Belgium, this clash against a weaker Algeria is a crucial opportunity to get three points and grab hold of the second-place spot in Group H.
Algeria, however, will still feel there is a chance to claim that same spot, having only lost by a goal to the Belgians, which should at least give the team a bit of confidence ahead of its final two fixtures.