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#Brazinga2014: World Cup Team Profile - Algeria

Tuesday, 1 July 2014 - 1:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: AFP

Despite struggling in the group stages, Algeria managed to qualify for the Round-of-16. Out of the three matches played, they won only match, which was against Korea Republic. The score was 4-2. They lost their opening match to Belgium 2-1, despite taking an early lead. They drew against Russia with the help of Islam Slimani's goal in the 60th minute. After struggling in the group stage, they might have a tough time against Germany in the knock-out stage.

Country Profile

Population: 36.5 million (UN 2012)

Area: 2,381,741 sq/km

Capital: Algiers

Currency: Dinar

Federation: Algerian Football Federation, founded in 1962, affiliated to FIFA in 1964

Registered players: 203,900

Colours: all white with green trim

World Cup appearances: 4 (1982, 1986, 2010, 2014)

World Cup record: First round (1982, 1986, 2010)

CAN appearances: 15 (1968, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2013)

CAN record: winner (1990), finalist (1980), 3rd (1984, 1988), 4th (1982, 2010), 1st round (2012, 2013)

How they qualified:

Won Africa zone qualifying group H with 15pts ahead of Mali 8pts, Benin 8 and Rwanda 2 after 5 wins, 0 draws, 1 defeat, 13 goals for and 3 against. Then beat Burkina Faso 3-2, 1-0 on away goals rule.

Top clubs: MC Alger, MC Oran, JS Kabylie, ES Setif

Key players: Islam Slimani, Sofiane Feghouli, Carl Medjani, Saphir Taïder

Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic (Bosnia/since 22/06/2011)

"One, two, three, viva L'Algerie"Spurred on by fanatical home support Algeria go to their fourth World Cup after a narrow away goals win over Burkina Faso in a stadium that had been raucous and packed full some six hours ahead of kick-off. The team that coach Rabah Saâdane took to South Africa in 2010 has since been dramatically overhauled by Bosnian disciplinarian Vahid Halilhodzic, whose outfit is defensively disciplined and tactically astute. While Halilhodzic's side were dumped from the 2013 CAN at the first round he was in the process of building a side that has set pulses racing in Algeria. The former PSG coach has plenty of fresh talent to employ with Sporting Portugal striker Islam Slimani getting five goals in qualifying, Valence playmaker Sofiane Feghouli and Olympiakos midfielder Carl Medjani both looking bright and youngsters Nabil Ghilas, 23, of Porto and Ishak Belfodil, 21, of Inter Milan adding great energy and vibrancy as new faces replace old ones. In qualifying they scored 16 and conceded 7 goals as they beat Mali, Benin and Rwanda before the play off with 2013 CAN finalist Burkina Faso. It was 3-2 in Burkina and 1-0 in the cauldron like stadium at Blida where Algeria have never been beaten. Such was the electric atmosphere that comparisons were made with the highly charged 2010, 1-0 play-off win over bitter regional rivals Egypt in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Infamous Germany v Austria drawBut Algeria never got into gear out in South Africa as they were beaten by Slovenia 1-0, drew 0-0 with England and then lost 1-0 to the United States, going home without having scored a goal and much to regret after the high expectations of the euphoric play-off. The benchmark for the North Africans is rather their performance at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, where they beat the mighty West Germany before being denied a place in the knock-out phase when Germany and Austria played out a 1-0 result that qualified them both at the expense of Algeria. Four years later at Mexico 1986 they fell to a respectable 1-0 defeat against Brazil, drew 1-1 with Northern Ireland and then crashed to a 3-0 hammering by Spain, which meant another early ride home. That disappointment was put into the shade in 1990 with triumph in the African Cup of Nations for the first time, beating Nigeria 1-0 on home soil in the final. Brazil 2014 sees a new generation Algeria much more likely to grab goals away from the safety of their fanatical home support, some of whom will certianly make the journey to South America with their catchy new terrace chant of "One, two, three, viva L'Algerie". Hopefully they'll be attractive enough to get a few neutrals to sing along.


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