It’s time for Dunga’s Brazil to swing into action for the first time since the conquest of the Copa América in Venezuela a little over a month ago (15/07/07). The testy tactician has been vindicated with the win and has surprised many by being able to tough out the storm of criticism that hit his footballing philosophy. The question now is if Dunga is able to blend the stars that begged out of Venezuela back into the mix.
The Canarinha (Canary Yellow) rivals are Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes) of Algeria who are currently battling it out for a place in the sun in Group 8 of the CAN (African Nations Cup) along with Guinea, Gambia and Cape Verde. Corsican Coach Jean-Michel Cavalli (ex-Créteil, Gazélec Ajaccio, Al-Riyadh, Lille OSC and Al Nasr) will be demanding the most of his men against Brazil.
French Coach Jean-Michel Cavalli has called up a total of fourteen Europe-based players for Algeria’s friendly match against Brazil. Defender Farid Cheklam joins the Desert Foxes for the first time, while France-based Arrache Slim is back after close to a year in the wilderness.
“It is a tough match and also a good preparation for our decisive qualifier against Gambia next month,” Cavalli said recently, Algeria currently in second place three points above the Gambians with five matches played in Group 8 of the qualifiers. Their first place was lost in June to Guinea with a surprise home defeat.
The hosts went down on the 16th June at the Stade 5 Juillet 1962 in Algiers, Fode Mansare and Pascal Feindouno scoring the only goals in a 0-2 defeat that meant that Guinea leapfrogged Algeria on goal difference, both level on points with eight apiece. The result was a shock after the previous good showing against none other than Argentina.
Despite losing 4-3, Algeria gave the Albiceleste a real run for their money at Barça’s Camp Nou on the 5th June 2007, a Nadir Belhadj brace and a Anthar Yahia goal only being bettered by penalties from Tevez and Lionel Messi (who scored another in play) and an Esteban Cambiasso goal. The fact that both Algeria and Brazil put three apiece past Argentina – although with different final results – is a rare common thread.
This Montpellier match will actually be the fourth meeting between Algeria and Brazil. Their last meeting dates back over two decades to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico with the Seleção winning 1-0. On that occasion the deadlock at Guadalajara’s Jalisco stadium was broken by a Careca goal in the 66th minute.
Goalkeepers: Doni (Roma-ITA) and Júlio Cesar (Internazionale-ITA)
Wing-backs: Maicon (Internazionale-ITA), Daniel Alves (Sevilla-SPA) and Kléber (Santos-BRA)
Centre-Backs: Miranda (São Paulo-BRA), Naldo (Werder Bremen-GER), Thiago Silva (Fluminense-BRA) and Alex Silva (São Paulo-BRA)
Midfielders: Mineiro (Hertha Berlin- GER), Fernando (Bordeaux-FRA), Lucas (Liverpool-ENG), Josué (Wolfsburg-GER), Elano (Manchester City-ENG), Diego (Werder Bremen- GER), Ronaldinho Gaúcho (FC Barcelona-SPA), Júlio Baptista (Real Madrid-SPA) and Kaká (AC Milan-ITA)
Forwards: Robinho (Real Madrid-SPA), Vágner Love (CSKA Moscow-RUS) and Rafael Sóbis (Betis-SPA)
Goalkeepers: Lounes Gaouaoui (JS Kabylie), Moahmed Ousserir (CR Belouzidad)
Defenders: Madjid Bougherra (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Farid Cheklam (ASO Chlef), Ismael Bouzid (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Larbi Hosni (Mouloudia Alger), Anthar Yahia (VfL Bochum, Germany), Abderraouf Zarabi (AJ Ajaccio, France)
Midfielders: Arrache Slim (Marsellie, France), Yacine Bezzaz (Valenciennes, France), Nadir Belhadj (Sedan, France), Lazhar Hadj Aissa (Entente Setif), Yazid Mansouri (Lorient, France), Karim Ziani (Marsellie, France)
Strikers: Rafik Saifi (Lorient, France), Hameur Bouazza (Fulham, England), Nouredine Daham (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Karim Matmour (SC Freiburg, Germany), Ghilas Kamel (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal)
President of Algerian Football Federation (FAF) Hamid Hadadj underlined in Montpellier, to which national football team arrived on Monday, that the friendly match against Brazil will contribute in preparations for the game against Gambia, on 9th September," the last day of qualifying matches to the 2008 African Cup of Nations (CAN), in Ghana.
"We still consider Algeria-Brazil match as a friendly match although it takes on a gala match as Brazilian football stars are to take part in," FAF's Head told APS. "The game, expected Wednesday, will make it possible for us to prepare for the 9 September rendezvous against Gambia within the framework of the first African Cup of Nations, he pointed out.
FAF President, who heads the Algerian delegation, added that football players belonging to Algerian clubs made for Marseille, Sunday, and joined their team mates based abroad on Monday morning.
All selected footballers for Montpellier match are present, except Bouazza Hameur and Arrach Salim who are not taking part due to injury.
Ronaldinho stars in Brazil's win against Algeria
Maicon nodded in a corner kick from Ronaldinho in the 63rd minute, and the Barcelona playmaker doubled the lead in the 81st with a low angled shot after Diego's initial shot rebounded off goalkeeper Lounes Gaouaoui. Brazil dominated ball possession in the first half but failed to convert that into goals.Ronaldinho and Kaka came off the bench in the second half to boost Brazil's offense.
Algeria retaliated on counterattacks. Set up by Karim Ziani, Rafik Saifi broke the offside trap in the 23rd. But Saifi lost his one-on-one dual against goalkeeper Doni, who tackled the ball as the Lorient forward attempted to dribble past him. Algeria had opportunities to score a consolation goal in the second half but lacked the finishing touch. Karim Matmour stole the ball in midfield in the 57th to shoot from the edge of the box, but Doni made the save. Nadir Belhadj's cross from the left flank in the 68th found Saifi in the area but his header went wide.
The Montpellier friendly was Brazil's first match after its victory in the Copa America last July in Venezuela.