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The 2014 FIFA World Cup

No plan to stop Hazard, say Algeria

HAZRAD-TUNISIASOROCABA, June 15- Algeria said they had no plan to stop Belgium dangerman Eden Hazard ahead of their World Cup opener against one of the most talent-laden teams in the tournament.

Assistant coach Nourredine Kourichi said Belgium had too many other threats, including powerful striker Romelu Lukaku, to allow them to focus on the explosive Chelsea midfielder.

“If we focus on Eden Hazard, we could have some nasty surprises. We know his qualities but also his weak points, but we can’t focus especially on him, there are others, like Lukaku,” he said.

“We don’t have a special plan against Hazard. We can mark and stop an opposing player with our own strategy,” added the former Algerian international.

Algeria are contesting their fourth World Cup but it is not since 1986, and the 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland, that they last scored in the tournament after going goalless at South Africa 2010.

But they remain mindful of their seismic 2-1 upset of Germany on their tournament debut in 1982 as they approach a team also blessed with Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj.

“At that time, we were an under-developed country against the giants Germany who were champions of Europe,” Kourichi said. “Everyone thought we would lose 5-0 or 6-0.

“That day, it was our technical quality that made the difference against the power of Germany.”

He added: “You can’t replace experience, but when you have the will, the recklessness and the talent, anything is possible. On Tuesday both teams have a chance, it’s not a small team against a big team.”

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Said Belkalem, who plays for English second-tier side Watford, insisted Belgium were not even favourites for the game, citing the Netherlands’ 5-1 upset of World Cup-holders Spain.

“Just look at Spain, who are the reigning world champions,” he said. “They were favourites and they took a beating against the Netherlands.

“Belgium are a good team but we have will and the ability to cope.”

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