FIFA World Cup: Every Goal Counts for Algeria

Algerian midfielder Foued Kadir says his country can do better with a more experienced squad than that which flopped in the FIFA World Cup in South Africa four years ago.

Updated: May 18, 2014 18:31 IST
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Algiers: Algeria have promised to improve on an embarrassing World Cup record when they compete at the 2014 finals in Brazil.

The 'Desert Foxes' last won a match at the tournament 32 years ago and have scored only once in six games during two subsequent appearances.

But midfielder Foued Kadir says his country can do better with a more experienced squad than that which flopped in South Africa four years ago.

"You will see a different Algeria in Brazil, with more maturity and experience than the 2010 squad," said Kadir.

"Our ambitions are to win matches and qualify for the knockout stage. So much hinges on the first game against Belgium.

"Everybody is assuming the Belgians are going to top the group, leaving the other three teams fighting for second place.

"If we can get at least a draw against Belgium our chances of making the knockout stages will greatly improve," he added.

South Korea and 2018 World Cup hosts Russia complete Group H, which is spread over five venues.

Kadir has been loaned to Rennes by fellow Ligue 1 outfit Marseille and is among numerous France-based Algerians vying for squad places.

Football ties between France and Algeria run deep with Lille-born Tottenham Hotspur central midfielder Nabil Bentaleb opting for the 'Foxes'.

The 19-year-old played for France at age-limit level before being persuaded to represent the country of his parents.

He made his international debut during March in a 2-0 win in a friendly at home to Slovenia, who defeated Algeria at the 2010 World Cup.

It was a rare victory over European opposition and raised morale ahead of Brazil -- an expedition pundits and bookmakers believe will end in first-round failure.

"A mediocre squad that has some flair but remains largely cynical and committed to gamesmanship and time wasting," was the dismissive summary of one pundit.

Scoring at the highest level has long been a problem for the 'Foxes' and strikers Islam Slimani and El Hilal Soudani carry heavy burdens.

Slimani scored five goals and Soudani three in the qualifiers with three more coming from Valencia wide midfielder Sofiane Feghouli.

However, veteran defender and captain Madjid Bougherra was credited with the scrambled goal that took his country to the finals at the expense of Burkina Faso.

Algeria made a spectacular start to World Cup participation in 1982, shocking then European champions and eventual finalists West Germany with a 2-1 victory and also defeating Chile after losing to Austria.

However, the 'Foxes' were deprived of a second-round place in Spain by goal difference after the Germans beat the Austrians in controversial circumstances.

Many who watched the game believed the result was contrived, and FIFA reacted by staging final group fixtures simultaneously in future tournaments.

Algeria also reached the following World Cup in 1986, but after drawing with Northern Ireland in Mexico they lost to Brazil and Spain.

A 24-year gap ensued before the next appearance and losses to Slovenia and the United States and a drab draw with England meant another early departure.

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