Algeria vs Russia World Cup 2014: 'Igor Akinfeev was blinded by the laser beam' claims Fabio Capello

Algeria's equaliser came in controversial circumstances

Algeria’s historic passage to the World Cup’s last 16 may have been cheered by neutrals but an unhappy Fabio Capello believes that foul play was a factor in the north Africans advancing at his Russia side’s expense.

Television pictures showed a laser being shone in the face of Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev as he prepared to face the free-kick that led to Algeria’s equalising goal in the 59th minute of yesterday’s 1-1 draw in Curitiba. When Akinfeev failed to get to the ball, Islam Slimani headed in at the far post and Algeria had the point they needed to beat Russia to second place in Group H.

“He was blinded by the laser beam, that is the truth – there are pictures, you can see that in the footage,” said former England manager Capello, who added: “You can see that the player was unable to do his job.”

At that point Russia were leading through Alexander Kokorin’s early header and on course to reach the second round for the first time in the post-Soviet era. A frustrated Capello also complained about the refereeing – “the foul from which the goal was scored was in our favour” – but offered no suggestion that he would be leaving his post in the wake of Russia’s early exit. Asked if he was planning to stay on with the 2018 World Cup hosts, the Italian replied: “If they still want me, yes.”

 

While Russia head for home, the Desert Foxes will face Germany in the round of 16 on Monday in Porto Alegre, having survived the group stage for the first time in four attempts.

“The joy tonight is indescribable and it is completely deserved,” said coach Vahid Halilhodzic. “Algeria played a heroic match and our qualification for the last 16 is merited. I am very proud of what we have achieved tonight. Russia showed their greater experience in the first half [and] at half-time I told them to stay organised, and that we’d get an equaliser.”

Video: Fabio Capello talks about Russia in the World Cup

So it proved as Algeria’s set-piece threat finally told and Africa now has two teams in the round of 16 for the first time, with Nigeria having also qualified. “We have written a page in our country’s history,” added midfielder Yacine Brahimi and the sight of Algeria players parading national flags around the pitch amid their exuberant celebrations at the end underlined just what it meant to the only Arab nation at this World Cup.

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