The reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria face Mexico tomorrow in a high profile international friendly that pits the current champions of Africa and North America.
The two sides face each other at the Cars Jeans Stadion in The Hague, Netherlands. It will be just the second ever meeting between the Desert Foxes and El Tri, with the only previous encounter taking place in 1985, in the build up to the 1986 FIFA World Cup which Mexico hosted.
On July 7th, 2019, in front of over 62,000 fans at Soldier Field in Chicago, Mexico beat hosts USA 1-0 in the final of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a lone goal from Jonathan dos Santos, to help El Tri win its 8th Gold Cup title.
A few weeks later, at the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt, it was a lone goal from striker Baghdad Bounedjah against Senegal in front of 75,000 fans that would see the Desert Foxes lift their 2nd ever Africa Cup title.
Both sides enter Tuesday’s friendly as their respective continental champions, Algeria of Africa and Mexico of North America.
Desert Foxes are unbeaten in 19 matches
Djamel Belmadi’s Algeria enters the match riding an impressive 19-match unbeaten streak, the longest active streak in Africa. The run includes wins over African heavyweights like Senegal (twice), Nigeria (twice), Tunisia, Mali and DR Congo, as well as a spectacular 3-0 drubbing of Colombia in a friendly last year, and a 1-0 win over Asian champions Qatar.
On Friday, Algeria made easy business of Nigeria with a comfortable 1-0 win thanks to an early goal from left-back Ramy Bensebaini. Despite fielding an almost reserve squad, the Desert Foxes controlled the majority of the match, with the likes of Said Benrahma, Yacine Brahimi and Farid Boulaya showing off their skills with highlight reel dribbles.
FT 🇩🇿 Algeria 1-0 Nigeria 🇳🇬
⚽️ Ramy Bensebaini (6’)
The champions of Africa extend their unbeaten streak to 19 games with a comfortable 1-0 win over Nigeria, while the game wasn’t the greatest the Desert Foxes showed why they are the best team in Africa 🔥 pic.twitter.com/T6e87IgHtK
— Walid Ziani (@bylka613_) October 9, 2020
Tomorrow’s match against Mexico will present a much more difficult task for Belmadi and the Desert Foxes. El Tri, who are ranked 11th in the FIFA rankings, are coming off a 1-0 win over the Netherlands and have won 7 matches in a row. In fact, Mexico has lost just 3 times in the last 2 years, with all 3 matches coming against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
After resting most of his starters against Nigeria, Djamel Belmadi is expected to align his regulars for Tuesday’s encounter. Veteran goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi is expected to return into goal to replace Alexandre Oukidja.
While the defense will most likely remain unchanged, there will be wholesale changes in the midfield with the trio of Adlène Guedioura, Sofiane Feghouli & 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Player of the tournament Ismael Bennacer expected to start.
Riyad Mahrez, who played 70 minutes in the 1-0 win over Nigeria, will retain his place in the XI, with Yacine Brahimi expected to start on the left-wing ahead of Said Benrahma. Up front, Baghdad Bounedjah, who has 4 goals in his last 5 games for Algeria and 15 goals in his last 23 caps, will lead the Algeria attack.
Bounedjah, who is the top scorer international in Africa since 2017 with 16 goals, will be no stranger to some Mexico fans. The Oran-native had a goal and an assist for Al-Sadd in the 3-2 loss against Mexico’s Monterrey at the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, where he finished as the top scorer of the competition with 3 goals in 3 appearances.
Algeria vs Mexico
Time: 9PM local time
Location: Cars Jean Stadion, The Hague, Netherlands
TV: ENTV (Algeria), Sharjah Sport (UAE), TUDN (Mexico)