Top Stories

Algerians/Slovenians Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Samir Handanovic 1 (Getty Images) 


Samir Handanovic may not have ended April with a shutout performance, but the Slovenian goalkeeper capped off one of the stronger months of the season for Udinese by helping the club to a 4-1 win against Siena.

Handanovic started his 35th game of the season and made three saves in the relatively easy victory, which improved Udinese to 3-0-1 in April. In that four match span, which included a 3-0 triumph against Juventus, Handanovic and his defense surrendered just two goals while the offense scored 10.

Slovenian defender Bojan Jokic and Chievo Verona also won this weekend, and Jokic played a key role in his club's triumph. Deployed as a left midfielder, Jokic delivered the game-winning assist with a lovely chipped pass that paved the way for Chievo's 2-0 blanking of Fiorentina.

As for the Algerians Abroad, they had one of the worst weekends in recent memory with only three players finding playing time. Defenders Hassan Yebda, Ismael Bouzid and Antar Yahia all saw the field, but none of their respective clubs were able to pull out a victory.

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




  • Defender Nadir Belhadj did not dress in Portsmouth's 2-2 draw vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. He is recovering from a groin injury.
  • Midfielder Hassan Yebda started and played 45 minutes in Portsmouth's 2-2 draw vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
  • Forward Kamel Ghilas did not dress in Hull City's 1-0 loss vs. Sunderland on Saturday.


  • Forward Hameur Bouazza did not dress in Blackpool's 1-0 win vs. Peterborough United on Saturday.


  • Defender Madjid Bougherra did not dress in Rangers' 1-0 win vs. Hibernian on Sunday.
  • Defender Ismael Bouzid started and played 90 minutes in Heart of Midlothian's 2-0 loss vs. Motherwell on Saturday.


  • Midfielder Mehdi Lacen did not dress in Racing Santander's 2-1 loss vs. Villarreal on Sunday.


  • Midfielder Abdelkader Ghezzal did not dress in Siena's 4-1 loss vs. Udinese on Sunday. He was serving a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
  • Midfielder Mourad Meghni did not dress in Lazio's 2-1 win vs. Genoa on Sunday.


  • Defender Antar Yahia started and played 90 minutes in VfL Bochum's 2-0 loss vs. VfB Stuttgart on Friday. 
  • Midfielder Karim Matmour did not dress in Borussia Moenchengladbach's 1-1 draw vs. Bayern Munich on Saturday.
  • Midfielder Karim Ziani dressed but did not play in VfL Wolfsburg's 1-0 loss vs. SC Freiburg on Sunday.
  • Forward Chadli Amri dressed but did not play in Mainz 05's 3-3 draw vs. Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.  


  • Forward Noureddine Daham did not dress in TUS Koblenz's 6-1 loss vs. St Pauli on Friday.


  • Midfielder Yazid Mansouri dressed but did not play in Lorient's 1-0 loss vs. Bordeaux on Saturday.


  • Defender Rafik Halliche dressed but did not play in CD Nacional de Madeira's 1-1 draw vs. Pacos de Ferreira on Sunday.


  • Forward Rafik Djebbour and AEK Athens' season is over.
  • Midfielder Salim Arrache and PAS Giannina's season is over.



  • Defender Suad Filekovic did not dress in Barnsley's 1-0 loss vs. Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
  • Midfielder Robert Koren started and played 71 minutes in West Bromwich Albion's 1-1 draw vs. Crystal Palace on Saturday.


  • Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Udinese's 4-1 win vs. Siena on Sunday.
  • Defender Bojan Jokic started, played 90 minutes and had an ASSIST in Chievo Verona's 2-0 win vs. Fiorentina on Sunday. 


  • Forward Milivoje Novakovic started and played 77 minutes in FC Cologne's 1-0 loss vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday.

  • Defender Miso Brecko started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in FC Cologne's 1-0 loss vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday. 
  • Forward Zlatko Dedic came off the bench and played 21 minutes in VfL Bochum's 2-0 loss vs. VfB Stuttgart on Friday.


  • Defender Matej Mavric started and played 90 minutes in TUS Koblenz's 6-1 loss vs. St Pauli on Friday.
  • Midfielder Goran Sukalo came off the bench and played 5 minutes in FC Augsburg's 1-1 draw vs. FSV Frankfurt on Friday. 


  • Defender Bostjan Cesar started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Grenoble's 2-1 loss vs. Nice on Saturday.
  • Forward Valter Birsa started and played 90 minutes in AJ Auxerre's 3-0 win vs. Toulouse on Sunday.


  • Midfielder Dalibor Stevanovic and Vitesse Arnhem did not play this weekend.


  • Midfielder Nejc Pecknik came off the bench and played 45 minutes in CD Nacional de Madeira's 1-1 draw vs. Pacos de Ferreira on Sunday.


  • Midfielder Aleksander Radosavljevic and Larissa's season is over.
  • Midfielder Mirnes Sisic and PAS Giannina's season is over. 


What do you think of these performances? Any player(s) you're particularly worried about? Think Handanovic will present problems for American forwards? Starting to think Algeria will be an easy win for the United States?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Hargreaves won the champions league with Bayern, and was a dominant player for years on that team, so much so that Germany tried hard to cap him because he had been there since he left Canada at 16 and was eligible for citizenship because of residency. It wasnt until he was sold to Man United for 17 million pounds that his career fell off the tracks, although he was Englands best player in the 2006 world cup. So you dont consider that “notable.” However its all a moot point anyway because Judas Hargreaves is really a Canuck, not a brit:)

  2. Owen Hargreaves, Bayern Munich. Steve McManaman, Real Madrid. Hargreaves might be a bit of a reach when you say, “notable.”

  3. Silly question.

    Are there any English players of note that play outside the EPL? Has there ever been. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Keegan, Platt, and Beckham that ventured across the channel and did anything.

  4. Bulgaria did have a golden generation of players who were all over Europe in 94 — foremost among them Stoichkov and Konstantinov, but there were others too. South Korea won its group advanced as far as they did thanks only to the home crowd, some kimchi cooking from the refs and a young player who had a big future in Europe, Ji-Sung Park.

    But as for Algeria and their players’ inaction, I think it can cut both ways. Either they will be rusty — or they will be well-rested and extra motivated, because their transfer prospects will depend on playing well. Many of the players who are riding pine in Europe are very talented and are essential to Algeria’s hopes.

    I just saw on Sky Sports News that Pompey hopes to have Nadir Belhadj back in time for the FA Cup final. Again, this could be good or bad for Algeria — good that he gets games before the cup, but bad if the club rushes him back and he gets injured again, a la Rooney.

  5. You have confused cause and effect, haven’t you? You have also confused class and form. Further, you have completely failed to account for national team dynamics.

    It might be easy for you to look at the Brazilian players and judge the likely outcome of a game between Brazil and, say, South Africa, but Brazil produces better quality players. You assume that since they play well for their club teams that that, and that alone, is an indicator of how they will play against South Africa. It’s not–the players are better, so it’s likely Brazil will win. But their players are historically better. They are in a class of their own, regardless of how they are playing for their club teams.

    And Brazil is better coached than South Africa or Algeria. Do you ever wonder why people call for Bob Bradley’s job? It’s because they (correctly) believe that national team tactics play a critical role in a national team’s performance.

    And I didn’t argue that you “cant extrapolate from club form.” I argued that it is not the only factor and, indeed, is hardly probative.

    Of course Spain will very likely beat the United States. Look at where the Spanish players ply their trade. And look at how little playing time the U.S. players get in top leagues. Oh. Oops.

    Don’t like that analogy? How about Bulgaria in 1994? South Korea in 2002? Those teams’ players weren’t in the top leagues. But they still advanced quite a ways.

    I’ll repeat: teams win World Cup games. [Collections of] Individuals do not.

  6. have to disagree. If you look at a team like, say, algeria, and a team like brazil, it is VERY easy to look at where players ply their trade, how often they get on the field and judge the likely outcome of a game between the two. It’s a little more difficult when the two teams get a lot of DNPs and DNDs, but your argument that you cant extrapolate from club form is silly. There’s a reason brazil, germany argentina win world cups, its because they have talented players that play at a high level. Looking at South Africa’s roster, we can tell for certain they are not as talented team as brazil, and thus less likely to win a game against them.

  7. Right. And I noted that they could be sharper. But the idea of counting the number of players from one national team that dressed and played in club games and comparing that to the numbers from another national team, and then drawing conclusions about what will happen in June, is ridiculous.

  8. I mean, really! Not only is it getting to be a bit perfunctory at this point, but I think it bears mentioning that Subotic is neither Algerian nor Slovenian. I know Slovenia is in Europe, mate, but not every country over there is the same.

  9. certainly can’t draw a ton of conclusions, but playing or not playing makes a big difference in form/confidence, obviously guys playing and in form play better than those that aren’t, ultimately the US should win both of these games if they show up to play, if not it’ll be a long flight home

  10. Weekly reminder: teams win games in the World Cup. Individuals do not.

    It may be a positive sign for the US’ opponents that their players are getting playing time because they will be sharper. But, in the end, I don’t invest much in each individual player’s performance on a week-to-week basis. Players have good games and players have bad games. Sometimes they get minutes, sometimes they don’t.

    In short: I don’t think we can draw too many conclusions about the Algerian and Slovenian teams’ prospective performances in the World Cup based on their individual team members’ current performances with their club teams.

  11. Realistically, we’ll get 4 points in our group, which will be cutting it very close, but usually 4 points gets you through. Our chances of beating Algeria are better than beating Slovenia. It will come down to the second game vs. Slovenia. Whoever wins that game will go through in second place. If we lose that game then we are in deep poop. This is all speculation. If Gooch and Davies are game-fit then we win all our games 7-0.

  12. Glad to see that Algerians aren’t playing much, but it looks like the Slovenians are starting to start in all of there club games. They will be hard to beat.


Leave a Comment