Algeria shoot themselves in the foot

Reading time 2 min.

Robert Koren’s late goal gave Slovenia victory over 10-man Algeria in their opening World Cup game in Polokwane to send them top of Group C. The Desert Foxes dominated throughout the game but couldn’t find the key to the Slovenian deadlock (1-0).

24 years after their last World Cup game, the Algerians were ready to take on the World as they faced Slovenia in their opening game with a great opportunity to top group C as England and the US couldn’t decide on a winner on Saturday.

It was a rather tentative start by both teams as the midfield remained very compact and players found little space to manœuvre. Slovenia, one of the best defense in the European qualification round, was to play the waiting game. Despite a good start with Portsmouth’s Belhadj’s stunning free kick, Rabah Saâdane’s men could muster the will to beat Handanovic. The Desert Foxes, far too clumsy, relied on their set pieces to break through. Yet, despite a Ziani corner and a Halliche header, the Algerians couldn’t find their way home.

After another attempt by Ghezzal, the Borussia Mönchegladbach forward, was foolishly sent off. Trying to control a long ball, he stuck out an arm deliberately : it was his second booking, leaving Algeria with ten men for the remaining 20 minutes. This was the beginning of the end for Algeria as they lost their composure. Yebda was booked, Belhadj threw his everything into the game but i twas too late. Slovenia captain had already struck, slipping a 20-yard drive through the grasp of Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi, who let the ball squeeze just inside the post.

Both sides came into this game knowing that a win would put them in pole position in the group following England’s 1-1 stalemate with the USA yesterday in Group C. And thank to Koren’s goal, Slovenia register their first win ever in the World Cup before taking on the other surprise of the group, the US.

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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