Last Sunday Algeria beat Group H opponents South Korea 4-2 at the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre and are now in touching distance of reaching the knockout stages, a draw against Russia in their final Group H game in Curitiba on Thursday will be enough for them to progress into the next round.
The North African side before their opening game against Belgium had not scored at a World Cup since the ’86 World Cup (Djamel Zidane equalised in the 58th minute against Northern Ireland).
Sporting Lisbon’s Islam Slimani opened the scoring in the 26th minute of the game from outpacing two of the South Korean defenders and slotted the ball past keeper Jung Sung-Ryong.
Above: Slimani’s “Show me the money” celebration.
Two minutes later The Fennec Foxes extended their lead, Rafik Halliche headed in from Abdelmoumene Djabou’s corner, the Académica de Coimbra player was unmarked and headed past Jung Sung-Ryong’s failed punch attempt.
Ten minutes later Club Africain midfielder Abdelmoumene Djabou trebled The Fennec Foxes lead, once again the South Koreans failed to mark, Djabou was able to run past the vulnerable Korean defence and slotted in from close range from Slimani’s through ball.
In the second half The Taegeuk Warriors pulled one back in the early minutes of the half, former Rangers player Madjid Bougherra made a hash of things at the back and failed to cut out a long ball. Son Heungmin calmly put the ball through Raïs M’Bolhi’s legs.
Twelve minutes later Algeria went ahead yet again, this time Yacine Brahimi who plays his trade at La Liga side Granada CF scored from close range from a well choreographed build up from the North African side.
Ten minutes later South Korea got another consolation goal, Koo Ja-Cheol close range finish gave the Koreans more confidence as they started to gain more flair in going forward; however, their North African opponents did what they did against the Belgians in the remaining minutes and sat back and defended well and went on the counter when the Korean attack broke down.
The stats reveal that Algeria have become the first ever African nation to score four goals in a World Cup match. Vahid Halilhodžić’s side have shown us that they are (like Costa Rica) a well-organised unit with talisman Sofiane Feghouli directing the majority of the team’s play.
Algeria have the chance to make history against a Russian side who have shown some glimpses of potential so far in the tournament. The 2018 World Cup hosts know that if they fail to reach the next round, they have another chance to shine on home soil in four years time. For Algeria this will definitely erase the pain of the 1982 World Cup when both West Germany and Austria stopped playing in the 80th minute (West Germany just needed to win 1-0 for both them and Austria to reach the next stage). From recently writing about the Algerian team and from watching their recent game against South Korea I have definitely gained a soft spot for them and really hope they can do it and make history. Viva l’Algérie! 🙂