Brave Algerian fails to find the back of the net as a late goal from Landon Donovan pulls the US into the final 16. An incredible finish from Michael Bradley’s men who, once more, showed their capacity to react to adversity. They even manage to top their group, ahead of England. The Desert Foxes go home, last of group C with a bitter sweet taste left in their mouth.
35 million Algerian had their eyes fixed on their TV sets as the Fennecs locked horns with the US in a must-win game. Make or break, as they say, has never been so true.
For once, the Desert Foxes fielded a seemingly offensive team. With Matmour and Djebbour up front, Rabah Saâdane showed his intent : turn around Algeria’s lack of offensive power and score goals in order to qualify. Instant results as the Green men finally show the will to score. 6th minute, a long ball puts Rafik Djebbour through and from the edge of the box he clatters a shot against the bar.
It’s a slow start by the United States. They look a bit short on ideas whereas Algeria really look like they are going for the win. Better service for the men up front mean Algeria create havoc in the American defense.
But the best chances are for the Yanks. Dempsey sees a goal disallowed for a slight offside (20’) before Altidore’s incredible miss (37’). Landon Donovan is half-blocked by the keeper as he cuts in from the right of the area, but with Rais M Bolhi out of position, Altidore spoons haplessly over from six yards.
In fact, Algeria can thank their keeper Rais M’Bolhi. Algeria have adopted a patient approach to attacking while the United States have been a bit more direct. 42’ : M’Bolhi denies Dempsey. 57’ : Jozy Altidore runs down the left and passes infield to Clint Dempsey – his first shot cannons back off the post and from the rebound he lashes widly wide. 63’ : Edson Buddle’s close-range header is superbly saved by the French born keeper. 79’ : Bradley’s free-kick once more parried… After Faouzi Chaouchi’s fumble against Slovenia, Rabah Saâdane may have found the one to wear the number 1 shirt.
Unfortunately for them, the Algerians never managed to find the key to US lock. The Yankees back four kept Djebbour and Matmour from getting inside the box. The Desert Foxes were left with one solution : shooting from a distance. Matmour (38’) and Ziani (66’) took their chances at what looked like skeet shooting. To no avail.
At the exact moment the final whistle blows in Port Elizabeth, USA score in Pretoria. Jozy Altidore fires in a cross from the right and after Rais M’Bolhi parries it, Landon Donovan gleefully slots the loose ball in. He is jumped on by what seems like the entire USA squad! Algeria goes home and they have only themselves to blame. The US top their group as England beat Slovenia.