South Korea vs Algeria comment World Cup 2014: North Africans on the brink of knockout stages after ending 32-year wait for victory
Algeria coach Valid Halilhodzic hails 'almost perfect' performance
Monday 23 June 2014
Before kick-off in Porto Alegre yesterday, not a single member of Vahid Halilhodzic’s Algeria squad had actually seen the north African country post a World Cup finals victory in their lifetime.
Ninety minutes later, with that elusive victory in their hands, they were dreaming of making further history. The impressive 4-2 success over South Korea was Algeria’s first in the World Cup since 1982 and Halilhodzic hopes it will provide a launchpad for his team to go and claim a place in the last 16.
“This victory, after a 32-year wait, will do us the power of good,” said Algeria’s Bosnian coach. “We have another big challenge against Russia. We have to try and pull off another feat to achieve the biggest exploit in Algerian football and reach the second round. It’s difficult but anything is possible.
“Algeria produced a heroic match and I congratulate all my players. I dedicate this victory to the Algeria supporters and the Algerian people who have waited 32 years.”
Algeria will go into the final round of Group H fixtures in second place in the section, with a two-point lead over both the Koreans and Russia, their opponents on Thursday. The only previous time they have threatened to progress in a World Cup tournament came on their 1982 debut when they beat West Germany and Chile but lost out on goal difference to both the Germans and Austria after the neighbours contrived to produce a result that secured the qualification for both.
It says something about a tournament where the goals keep flowing that in the 32 of 64 games in Brazil – the midway point – Algeria, a team without a World Cup goal in open play since 1986, should suddenly hit four.
They poured forward at speed and in numbers, breaking behind the Korean defence in a first-half performance that Halildhozic described as “almost perfect” and ended the match with Islam Slimani, Abdelmoumene Djabou and Yacine Brahimi – three of five changes from the opening loss to Belgium – all scoring.
Halilhodzic suggested it was not always possible to field so many attack-minded players and it should be added they will not always face such generous opponents.
“Our defence was not up to scratch,” lamented Korean coach Hong Myung-bo. “Today, we weren't as organised as we could have been. There wasn't enough communication between our players.”
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