Despite the FIF rankings which rated them as the number 1 team in Africa, not many gave Algeria the chance to make any impact at the ongoing Brazil 2014 world cup, classifying them alongside teams like Honduras as teams that would be on the plane back home early but Algeria have defied all odds to qualify for the second round, something the likes of Spain, Italy and England couldn’t do. In the process, the North African team broke a number of records, qualifying for the second round for the first time in their history, becoming only the fourth African team in history after Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana to qualify from the group stages and making it the first time in the history of the world cup that two African teams have made it to the 2nd round.
The Algerians sealed their passage to the second round after securing a 1-1 draw with Fabio Capello’s Russia, celebrating after the final whistle like they had just won the cup itself.
Coming into the Group H clash, Algeria knew a draw would likely be enough to seal qualification – barring a heavy victory for South Korea over Belgium – whereas Russia required a win to advance.
That result looked to be on the cards when Fabio Capello’s men went in front as early as the sixth minute, as Aleksandr Kokorin headed home Dmitri Kombarov’s pin-point delivery.
Russia looked comfortable with their advantage until the hour mark, when Igor Akinfeev – who made a horrible mistake in conceding during the 1-1 draw with South Korea – failed to make a connection with Yacine Brahimi’s set-piece delivery and Islam Slimani converted from six yards.
The Russians made all efforts to score again after Algeria’s equalizer but the ‘Desert Foxes’ stood firm and resisted all that was thrown at them to make history for themselves.
Algeria will now take on Germany in Porto Alegre on Monday in the last 16.
Damilola Orehin is a freelance creative writer with interesting opinions and analysis of sports, entertainment and social issues. He has written on several established print and online platforms and he showcases his deep-rooted passion for a wide variety of sports at tecmosports.blogspot.com.
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