Article / 17 June 2014 at 11:51 GMT

Match focus: Algerian economy to hammer Belgium in Saxo competition

Editor's note: Mads' analysis is based on how he sees the match only from a macro perspective. Remember there are nine other metrics that could determine the outcome of this match. Neither team can be eliminated at this stage as we are in the group phase.

Match: Belgium vs Algeria

Group: H

When: June 17, 16:00 GMT

Category: Macro

Analysis: Belgium and Algeria enter the World Cup fray today in the first match in the eighth and final group H. Belgium has never achieved much internationally with a fourth place in the 1986 European Championship the highlight, but the Benelux country arrives at this competition with the third-most valuable team based on actual player transfers, and includes the likes of Hazard, Kompany, Vermaelen, Courtois, Lukaku, and plenty more. Will that count for much economically, however?

Eleventh ranked Belgium will take on Algeria, which finds itself in 22nd place on FIFA's world ranking. The Algerian side overcame Burkina Faso on away goals to qualify for the World Cup and its primary objective must be to secure passage to the knock-out phase - a feat which would be a first for Algeria.

Prediction: Algeria to spring the surprise and hammer Belgium.

The Belgian economy has been dragged down by the European sovereign debt crisis, recording a decline in economic output of 0.2 percent in 2012 before reversing this to plus 0.2 percent in 2013. This year growth is expected to hit at least 1 percent. Public debt remains a key issue for Belgium and it climbed back above 100 percent of GDP at 102.4 percent last year.

The Algerian economy, meanwhile, has grown robustly in recent years. In fact Algeria recorded growth of 1.7 percent in 2009 when the global economy crashed by 2.1 percent, and you have to go back to 1994 to find a contraction in output. Judged by our macro ranking, Belgium is expected to grow 0.5 below trend while Algeria is expected to grow 0.3 above trend, an economic hammering is in store, it seems. Belgium may have the third-most expensive team, but Algeria's economy will secure victory.

Belgium vs. Algeria

-- Edited by Martin O'Rourke

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