Last Thursday Algeria faced Fabio Capello’s Russia in their final Group H game and drew 1-1 in Curitiba. A point was enough to send the North African side into the last sixteen, tomorrow they face Germany at the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre (the same stadium where they beat South Korea 4-2).
Dynamo Moscow’s Aleksandr Kokorin gave Russia the lead in the early minutes of the game, Dmitri Kombarov delivered a perfect cross to Kokorin which the Algerian back four failed to clear; the Dynamo striker was in the right place at the right time to head the ball past Raïs M’Bolhi.
In the first half it was looking like Russia would be going through, however, in the second half Islam Slimani headed in from Abdelmoumeme Djabou’s freekick. Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev complained about a laser pen that had been pointed at him whilst the free kick was being taken, the question still remains if the laser impeded him when the ball came in.
Algeria become the first North African side to ever qualify for the second round and will definitely give it their all against Germany who were famously known as the “Disgrace of Gijón” along with Austria as both sides fixed their game to reach the next stages of the tournament. The Fennec foxes beat Germany (West Germany) in the same World Cup (the 1982 Spain World Cup) 2-1 Lakhdar Belloumi stroked home the winner in the second half, Belloumi mentioned that the victory would give other smaller footballing countries a blueprint to follow in future World Cups, he was definitely right as there have been quite a few shocks in previous tournaments.
It will be interesting to see how Algeria will adopt their game plan against Germany, Vahid Halilhodžić will most likely get his team to sit back and prevent the likes of Thomas Müller coming in and causing a menace in the final third of the pitch. Halilhodžić who once represented the former Yugoslavia mentioned that ““I love it as a coach to see my team fighting like this, Germany are a huge team. It’s going to be very complicated for us. We are small Algeria against big Germany.” (Quote taken from the Guardian, 28th June, 2014)
It’s hard to imagine an Algerian victory in Porto Alegre, however, it is good to see them put Africa once again on the footballing map, however, if we were to see an upset the whole of Algiers will be celebrating for a very long time (video below shows incredible scenes in the Algerian capital) and a lot of fans will strongly believe that justice has finally been done 32 years later.