Nickname: Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes)
Coach: Rabah Saadane (ALG)
FIFA Ranking: 30th
Best World Cup finish: 13th in 1982 (round 1)
The Desert Foxes are back in the World Cup. They had to wait 24 years to come back to the biggest soccer tournament in the world and they did it with fierce pride.
The way to South Africa was literary painful for Algeria’s national team after they had to face its biggest enemy in the qualification stage.
Algeria and Egypt had to break the tie after the last two official games of the qualification. Before that game, an incident set the fire between the teams.
Several fans from Egypt were waiting for the bus in which the Algerian team would be traveling and started throwing glass bottles to the bus causing grazes to several players. The foxes had to play the game with bandages on their heads. They lost that night, forcing the tiebreak game.
Cairo was the scenario where the two fought for the ticket to the World Cup.
Antar Yahia became the hero of the game scoring the goal that put Algeria in South Africa.
Now, the African team will have a harder time trying to defeat three teams that won’t leave the chance to succeed in the World Cup.
Coach Rabah Saadane feels proud of his team and is excited for its comeback.
“Our qualification has made it possible for the country to put itself back on the map,” said Saadane. “It’s a joy and even an honour to be at the origin of that. I’m touched to see the happiness we have given to our people.” he said to Fifa.com
Algeria will face Slovenia, England and United States and coach Saadane has already planned to include in the attack Karim Ziani and Mourad Meghni. Goalkeeper Lounes Gaouaoui is also a very important piece in the team who had an excellent performance during the qualification stage.
They also possesses a good defense built by Yahia, as well as Madjid Bougherra and Nadir Belhadj.