In a match pitting a dark horse candidate to win the World Cup title against a heavy underdog, Belgium take on Algeria in a Group H matchup in Belo Horizonte on Friday.
Belgium, a country with a population of just 11 million, enter the World Cup with a collection of star players, who have the chance to lift the small country to its best showing since reaching the semifinals in 1986. Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelulu Lukaku make up the big trio for the Belgians.
But Daniel Van Buyten might be the crucial player of Belgium. The Bayern Munich center back will be called up on to help prevent Algeria from catching a break against the counter attack.
Algeria is lacking in star power and experience, and will look to build off a lackluster campaign in 2010. In South Africa, Algeria looked to play spoiler by seeking a draw against the U.S. in the final match of group play despite being in position to advance to the Round of 16 with a win.
Algeria don't boast any notable players, but showed in World Cup qualifying that they were capable of taking advantage of their limited opportunites. While Sofiane Feghouli is considered the best player on the roster, El Arabi Soudani is a player to keep an eye on. The forward had a strong campaign for Dinamo Zagreb in the 2013-2014 season.
Belgium is expected to advance out of Group H, which includes Russia and South Korea. Algeria will likely be seeking a draw in the match, and for a win against either Russia or South Korea.
Belgium starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Daniel van Buyten, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld; Mousa Dembélé,Axel Witsel; Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Nacer Chadli; Romelu Lukaku.
Algeria starting lineup (4-3-3): Raïs M'Bohli; Faouzi Ghoulam, Carl Medjani, Rafik Halliche, Madjid Bougherra; Saphir Taïder, Mehdi Mostefa, Nabil Bentaleb; Riyad Mahrez, El Arbi Hillel Soudani, Sofiane Feghouli.
Start Time: Monday, 12 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream Info: A live online stream is available at Watch ESPN here.
Prediction: Belgium over Algeria, 2-1