AFCON 2013: Tunisia v Algeria Preview
The north African nations go head to head at Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium knowing all too well that the inclusion of Ivory Coast and Togo in Group D makes qualification for the quarter-final stage especially difficult.
Having last won the competition in 1990, Algeria made it to the finals on this occasion by beating Gambia and Libya in the qualifiers.
Veteran tactician Halilhodzic told gulfnews.com: “The match against Tunisia will determine our future in this competition.
“If we get to the quarter-finals you never know what can happen, but we have to get there first and it starts with a positive result from our outing against Tunisia.”
Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli and Medhi Lacen of Getafe are the players to watch in a largely inexperienced squad, who warmed up for Tuesday’s game with a goalless draw against hosts South Africa.
Tunisia have experienced more recent success in this competition, winning the title on home soil in 2004 after losing out to South Africa in the 1996 final.
The Carthage Eagles reached the quarter-finals in 2006, 2008 and 2012 but failed to progress from the group stages in 2010 despite avoiding defeat in all three games.
Head coach Sami Trabelsi is targeting another appearance in the final, saying: “My players are working really hard and I believe we can go far – maybe even to the decider again.”
Tunisia only just qualified for the current tournament thanks to an away-goal victory over Sierra Leone, thanks in part to a goal from Youssef Msakni.
The 22-year-old playmaker, who has recently left Tunisia to sign for Qatari outfit Lekhwiya, also scored twice at last year’s contest in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.