Hassan Yebda and Nadir Belhadj are hoping to cross swords with David James when Algeria face England in Cape Town, as it will mean that their Portsmouth pal is officially England's No1 goalkeeper.
After Robert Green's mistake against USA, which allowed Clint Dempsey to cancel out Steven Gerrard's early opening goal, there are rumours that Fabio Capello will hand the goalkeeping duties to James, the holder of England's No1 jersey – and that will come as a huge delight to Yebda and Belhadj. "It won't be a problem to face David," Yebda told FIFA in an exclusive chat. "On the contrary, I would be happy for him if he is the No1 goalkeeper in England. I played with him this season for Portsmouth so I'll be delighted for him."
Speaking at the pre-match press conference at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium, Belhadj agreed: "He's a very good goalkeeper. I'd like him to play – it would be nice to come up against him. However, I don't think our knowledge of David or the English league will help that much on Friday. It's 11 v 11 – we're just going to give our best and see what happens."
I don’t know if it's the biggest game in Algeria's history but I do know we'll go down in history if we win
Yebda, however, is already dreaming of what might be. "I don’t know if it's the biggest game in Algeria's history but I do know we'll go down in history if we win," smiled the 26-year-old midfielder. "We've worked hard to get here and now we're going to give it everything we've got. I hope that we'll see a very good Algerian side."
Yebda's dreams of victory are also being shared by their coach, Rabah Saadane, who is hoping to ruin Capello's 64th birthday by pulling off the shock of the tournament so far. "I have a lot of respect for Fabio Capello and the England team," he said. "But I can hardly imagine what things would be like in Algeria if we were to win. I hope we can be the dark horses.
"We will try to win – and that's what we have prepared for," Saadane added. "We have watched England closely and in football everything is possible. I trust my team and we will give our best. I hope that we'll have a little bit of luck. There is pressure on both sides. It's an important game for both teams, but I'm sure we’ll have an excellent game. This is the World Cup – it's a fine spectacle and that's what people are expecting."