Mansouri hopeful for Algeria
Yazid Mansouri believes Algeria have a chance of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup.
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 05/12/09 9:28am
Yazid Mansouri believes Algeria have a chance of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup, but accepts England are favourites to win Group C.
Algeria's reward for beating Egypt in a play-off last month is a first-round group containing England, Slovenia and USA next summer.
Mansouri, who had a spell on loan at Coventry City in the 2003/04 season, acknowledged Algeria will have a battle on their hands against England.
However, the national team's captain feels the North African side are capable of pipping USA and Slovenia to second place in the group.
"The group is not easy, but Algeria have a chance to go through to the next round," Mansouri told skysports.com. "Our morale is strong after qualifying for the World Cup and now it is necessary to promote the best image during the tournament.
"England are the favourites for the group, but the other position is very open. Now, I consider that each team has the same chance.
"Algeria is not inferior to USA and Slovenia, and that is our challenge during next summer.
"To play against England will bring a lot of prestige and I am totally convinced that for this match we will make a big effort on the pitch."
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane is backing England to advance to the latter stages of the World Cup and pinpoints USA as the chief rivals for second place.
Saadane said: "I think it's a difficult group. It's got teams with lots of experience who have big coaches like Mr Capello at England.
"USA are equally a big team, they've already confirmed that at the Confederations Cup by getting to the final against Brazil and by beating Spain.
"It's a group that gives England and the USA an advantage.
"I think England are now a team that can go far in the World Cup because they've always had individual quality, but now they've got vigour thanks to Italian Capello."