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Aiming for historic first

Curitiba: Fabio Capello’s goal-shy Russia will have to do better than England did under his guidance four years ago when they face a confident Algeria, at the Arena da Baixada, here, on Thursday, for a place in the World Cup knock-out stage.

The authoritarian Italian’s lacklustre lions played out a barren draw against the Algerians in Cape Town four years ago, a tournament in which Algeria failed to score a single goal in their three group matches.

The North Africans have never before progressed beyond the group stage but look a far more dangerous side now after beating South Korea 4-2 and narrowly losing out 1-2 to fancied Belgium. No wonder it will be a historic moment for them should they make the knock-out stage for the very first time.

With Belgium on six points, Algeria on three and Russia level with South Korea on one in Group H, Capello’s men must start scoring goals and win if they are to go through with the Belgians.

Algeria, too, will definitely go through if they win and could even top the group on goal difference should Belgium lose to South Korea . Winning will not be easy for Russia. They have just one goal to their credit so far and their fast-flowing opponents, who may need only a draw, showed good bit of flair against the Koreans to chalk up their first World Cup victory since 1982.

Capello, though, is expected to make some changes in the side with CSKA Moscow’s Alan Dzagoev and Zenit St Petersburg’s Aleksandr Kerzhakov likely to be part of the playing XI. (agencies)