29 June 2014

Algeria: Fighting Algeria Readies for World Cup Clash With Germany

Photo: CAF
Algerian Players celebrate a goal at World Cup.

Algeria's history with Germany is bittersweet as they prepare to meet in the second round of the World Cup in Porto Alegre on Monday.

OVERVIEW

One of Algeria's greatest sporting moments came at the 1982 World Cup in Spain when they defeated the then West Germany 2-1 in the pool stages of the tournament, but would later be thwarted by the same opposition in what has become known as the “Disgrace of Gijon”.

The Germans went into their final pool match against Austria knowing that victory by a two-goal margin would see both teams advance to the knockout rounds. After West Germany scored early, neither team made any attempt to force another goal as they theatrically missed the target and lumbered around the pitch.

One of the major reasons why today the final round of pool games kick off simultaneously is so that one team does not have prior knowledge of what their result should be. It is a piece of World Cup history that still rankles with the Algerians, and provides a tasty backdrop to this encounter.

Both sides have been keen to play the history down, but with the Algerian players having grown up hearing the story of that day, it must surely add extra motivation, were it needed.

Incidentally, Algeria also met the East German side in a friendly exactly 50 years ago and also triumphed in that game, making it two wins from two against German opposition. If they could force a hat-trick this time round it would be a sensational result.

Algeria return to the scene of their top triumph in this competition far, a wonderful 4-2 victory over South Korea in Porto Alegre in the second game of their tournament.

The north African side appear to have no injury problems ahead of the game and can take confidence from the battling 1-1 draw with Russia last time out that won them a place in the knockout stages.

Germany must do without forward Lukas Podolski, who has a thigh injury.

KEY PLAYERS

Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria) - Feghouli has emerged as the very heartbeat of this Algerian side and just about everything good they do comes through him. The attacking midfielder not only works extremely hard, but also knows the right ball to play and has great vision to bring teammates into the game. He was earmarked as a star of their side before the tournament started and has lived up to that billing and then some.

Thomas Muller (Germany) - Muller appears to love the big stage and has an enviable record of eight goals in nine World Cup matches to date. Although not really an out-and-out striker, he has led the line well for Germany in this competition and seems to know where to be at the right time to finish off opportunities. He is a huge threat to Algeria.

WHAT THEY SAY

Vahid Halilhodzic (Algeria coach) - "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."

Joachim Loew (Germany coach) - "I find it irritating when I read that this is a match about vengeance. Most of the players on my team weren't even born (in 1982). Why should Algeria want to punish us? It's incomprehensible for me. Our players don't know anything about that (West Germany) team back then. It's not an issue for us. Maybe some on the other side want to make an issue out of it to motivate Algeria.”

MATCH FACTS

Date: Monday, June 30

Kick-off: 20h00 (GMT)

Venue: Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre

Referee: Sandro Ricci (Brazil)

ALGERIA HEAD-TO-HEAD VS GERMANY

P W D L GF GA

2 2 0 0 4 1

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