1 July 2014

Algeria Prepare for Life after Coach Halilhodzic

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

Algeria have much to be proud of at the World Cup in Brazil, but now must ponder an uncertain future without coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

The extra-time loss to Germany on Monday night that ended their campaign in the second round was tough to take, especially as they had their opportunities to force a different result.

But they should also be proud at running one of the world's best teams close, going down 2-1 in the end, and there is much to build on for them going forward.

That work will not be done by Halilhodzic it seems, after he decided before the World Cup started that this tournament would be his last with the side.

Frenchman Christian Gourcuff, who recently left Lorient in Ligue 1 looks to have been earmarked to take over, though captain Madjid Bouguerra said he hopes his current boss stays on.

"There are rumours going around, but we need to thank him for all he has done," Bouguerra told reporters. "He took on the team when they were very low and has given us confidence, we all kissed him at the end and if he does leave, he needs to be rewarded.

"Yes, we're disappointed, but we're proud of what we achieved at this World Cup."

The Algeria's players have also insisted that their observation of the holy month of Ramadan, which calls for fasting during daylight hours, had no influence on the result, despite 120 minutes of high-paced, energy-sapping football.

"No, I don't think [it was a factor], we were ready to play for as long as we need to, nobody believed we were able to put in a performance like that," Man of the match, Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi, said.

"It didn't come down to physicality, everyone was fit and ready to play, we just conceded two late goals. This is a personal question, it's between us and God, I don't think I have to answer you, Ramadan is a personal thing."

Germany now face France in the quarterfinals and, should they advance through there, the winner of Brazil versus Colombia in the semis.

They can only hope that their struggles against Algeria, in which they were second best for much of the game, have hardened them for those battles ahead.

"You need to catch your breath after a game like that, and at the end it was sheer force of will that got us the win," their coach Joachim Loew said. "We didn't get into our rhythm in the first half and lost a lot of balls, but we were the better team after the break and in extra time.

"We had a lot of chances and their goalkeeper played out of his skin at times. Algeria frequently evaded our pressing game by playing long balls and they did it well because we looked very vulnerable.

"You get matches like this at tournaments and you need to fight. Other teams such as Brazil have also struggled at times, it's no walk in the park here."

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