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Algerians/Slovenians Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Valter Birsa 1 (Reuters) 

By FRANCO PANIZO

Slovenian forward Valter Birsa may not score goals in bunches, but the U.S. national team will have to be wary of his lethal left foot on free kicks this summer.

Birsa scored a stunning free kick in AJ Auxerre's 4-1 triumph against Lorient, curling in the third goal with a shot from 25 yards that stung off the near post before finding the back of the net. The goal was Birsa's third of the season, and will give him confidence as he attempts to help Auxerre grab first place in the French League with five games remaining.

Matej Mavric also scored this weekend, but the Slovenian defender likely did not walk away content with his performance in TUS Koblenz's 2-2 draw vs. Karlsruhe. Six minutes after slotting home a penalty kick, Mavric was given the chance to hand Koblenz a two-goal cushion with another, but he opted to shoot the spot kick in the same direction and it was saved. Karlsruhe would take advantage of that missed opportunity, finding an equalizer late in the game. 

For Algeria, one of the more positive developments was the return of defender Madjid Bougherra. The center back was penciled into Rangers' lineup as he made his comeback from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him since early March. Bougherra started and played 90 minutes in Rangers' 2-0 win over Heart of Midlothian.

Here is how the Algerians and Slovenians Abroad performed this weekend:

ALGERIA

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

  • Defender Nadir Belhadj did not dress in Portsmouth's 2-1 loss vs. Aston Villa on Sunday. He is recovering from a groin injury.

  • Midfielder Hassan Yebda started and played 90 minutes in Portsmouth's 2-1 loss vs. Aston Villa on Sunday.
  • Forward Kamel Ghilas did not dress in Hull City's 0-0 draw vs. Birmingham on Saturday.

ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Forward Hameur Bouazza did not dress in Blackpool's 3-1 win vs. Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE

  • Defender Madjid Bougherra started and played 90 minutes in Rangers' 2-0 win vs. Heart of Midlothian on Sunday.
  • Defender Ismael Bouzid started and played 90 minutes in Heart of Midlothian's 2-0 loss vs. Rangers on Sunday.

SPANISH LA LIGA

  • Midfielder Mehdi Lacen did not dress in Racing Santander's 2-2 draw vs. Xerez on Sunday.

ITALIAN SERIE A

  • Midfielder Abdelkader Ghezzal started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Siena's 2-2 draw vs. Catania on Sunday.
  • Midfielder Mourad Meghni did not dress in Lazio's 2-1 loss vs. AS Roma on Sunday.

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

  • Defender Antar Yahia started and played 90 minutes in VfL Bochum's 2-0 loss vs. FC Cologne on Friday. 
  • Midfielder Karim Matmour started, played 75 minutes and received a yellow card in Borussia Moenchengladbach's 3-1 loss vs. Schalke 04 on Saturday.
  • Midfielder Karim Ziani did not dress in VfL Wolfsburg's 4-2 loss vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday.
  • Forward Chadli Amri came off the bench and played 6 minutes in Mainz 05's 1-0 win vs. Hamburg SV on Saturday.  

BUNDESLIGA 2

  • Forward Noureddine Daham did not dress in TUS Koblenz's 2-2 draw vs. Karlsruhe on Friday.

FRENCH LIGUE 1

  • Midfielder Yazid Mansouri did not dress in Lorient's 4-1 loss vs. AJ Auxerre on Saturday.

PORTUGUESE LIGA SAGRES

  • Defender Rafik Halliche came off the bench and played 21 minutes in CD Nacional de Madeira's 2-0 win vs. Uniao de Leiria on Sunday.

GREEK SUPER LEAGUE

  • Forward Rafik Djebbour started, played 90 minutes and scored a GOAL in AEK Athens' 2-0 win vs. Asteras Tripoli on Sunday.

  • Midfielder Salim Arrache started and played 90 minutes in PAS Giannina's 1-0 loss vs. Panathinaikos on Sunday.

SLOVENIA

ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Defender Suad Filekovic did not dress in Barnsley's 3-1 loss vs. Swansea City on Saturday.

  • Midfielder Robert Koren started and played 90 minutes in West Bromwich Albion's 2-0 win vs. Middlesbrough on Saturday.

ITALIAN SERIE A

  • Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic started and played 90 minutes in Udinese's 1-1 draw vs. Bologna on Sunday.
  • Defender Bojan Jokic came off the bench and played 4 minutes in Chievo Verona's 2-0 win vs. Livorno on Saturday. 

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

  • Forward Milivoje Novakovic started and played 90 minutes in FC Cologne's 2-0 win vs. VfL Bochum on Friday.

  • Defender Miso Brecko started and played 90 minutes in FC Cologne's 2-0 win vs. VfL Bochum on Friday. 
  • Forward Zlatko Dedic started and played 75 minutes in VfL Bochum's 2-0 loss vs. FC Cologne on Friday.

BUNDESLIGA 2

  • Defender Matej Mavric started, played 90 minutes, received a yellow card, missed a penalty kick and scored a (penalty kick) GOAL in TUS Koblenz's 2-2 draw vs. Karlsruhe on Friday.

  • Midfielder Goran Sukalo did not dress in FC Augsburg's 2-0 win vs. MSV Duisburg on Friday. 

FRENCH LIGUE 1

  • Defender Bostjan Cesar started and played 90 minutes in Grenoble's 2-2 draw vs. Sochaux on Saturday.
  • Forward Valter Birsa started, played 75 minutes and scored a GOAL in AJ Auxerre's 4-1 win vs. Lorient on Saturday.

DUTCH EREDIVISIE

  • Midfielder Dalibor Stevanovic did not dress in Vitesse Arnhem's 5-2 loss vs. Roda JC Kerkrade on Sunday.

PORTUGUESE LIGA SAGRES

  • Midfielder Nejc Pecknik dressed but did not play in CD Nacional de Madeira's 2-0 win vs. Uniao de Leiria on Sunday.

GREEK SUPER LEAGUE

  • Midfielder Aleksander Radosavljevic dressed but did not play in Larissa's 2-1 loss vs. Levadiakos on Sunday.
  • Midfielder Mirnes Sisic started and played 64 minutes in PAS Giannina's 1-0 loss vs. Panathinaikos on Sunday. 

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What do you think of these performances? Any player(s) you're particularly worried about? Impressed by Birsa's free kick? Hoping Mavric takes a penalty kick for Slovenia if the U.S. were to concede one? How do you see Bougherra faring this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. No doubt this group is going to be competitive and exiting. Slovenia and Algeria are probably better than what most people think. I think the U.S’s. experience from 5 straight World Cups and having about 6 to 8 players from 2006 on the 2010 roster is going to be invaluable. One would think that the players who were on that 2006 WC team now have something to prove. I think they get out of the first round. It is never easy, though. Get ready for some almost heart attacks.

    Reply
  2. I think the betting line is still about 50/50 for the US to get out of the group, and that sounds about right to me. If England doesn’t make it, it is an upset. If the US does not make it out, not so much.

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  3. Your soo right. I get bad dreams about Algeria every night. I feel that the US should be scouts these fellas right now so June wont be a nightmare.

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  4. Wouldn’t it be hilarious for neutrals if Algeria and Slovenia were the two to qualify? I expect this group to be tougher than either the Yanks or the Brits are expecting. Yes, they’re the favourites, but there’ll be a surprise result somewhere (and I’m not talking US v England).

    Reply
  5. wow, the finishing on display in the Rafik Djebbour clip is TERRIBLE.

    these games are going to be a lot of fun to watch. this group is going to be highly contested.

    Reply

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