Algeria has a fair bit of World Cup experience going into Brazil this summer, however they have a little more to show and prove this time around. A mixed line-up of skillful youths and experienced veterans, along with a coach who knows the team exceptionally well is what the boys in green are locked and loaded for this summer.
Algeria’s last appearance in the World Cup has certainly established them a reputation as fighters who play to the bone. In the South African World Cup in 2010, Algeria’s game against the USA was a crucial match, one that’s outcome could salvage or terminate either team’s World Cup journey.
The Fennec Foxes (Les Fennecs’) played with heart, they put their game faces on and gave team USA one hell of a game. Nottingham Forest’s Rafik Djebbour hit the woodwork with a stunning volley early in this action-packed match, which saw countless goal chances missed by both teams and more than a dozen saves by both goalkeepers. A final minute goal during injury time by MLS star Landon Donavan saw the end of Algeria’s ambitions to reach the Round of 16 that year.
To give credit where credit is due, the Algerian team were hardy, rugged, tenacious, and played with heart during their 2010 World Cup run. However, Brazil 2014 is a different tournament, and one is curious to know how well the Fennec Foxes will do this time.
Highlighted players of this 2014 North African team includes veteran center back Madjid Bougherra, who left financially struggling Glasgow Rangers and joined Lekhwiya Doha of Qatar. Bougherra, nicknamed ‘Boogey’, will be leading his national team as captain during this summer’s World Cup. The 1.89m tall defender is the right man for the job because he has the most experience among this young squad.
One of those youngsters is Inter Milan’s centre midfielder Saphir Taider, whom many of the Algerian faithfuls are hoping will add some flair and tenacity to the team. Other young midfielders who manager Vahid Halilhodzic prizes in his ever-evolving team are Sofiane Feghouli of Valencia and Nabil Bentaleb of Tottenham Hotspur who, alongside Taider, have the potential to enhance Algeria’s goal scoring record in this coming World Cup.
With the midfield live, young, and vibrant, the Fennec Foxes have one more trick up their sleeves. Sporting Lisbon’s Islam Silmani has effectively been Algeria top scorer through the qualifying stages. Silmani has scored a goal every time he saw 90 minutes of play.
Vahid Halilhodzic, is the manager and mastermind behind this youth movement. Having been wounded in 1992 during the Bosnian war, he left his home country which saw his house looted and burned to the ground shortly after. The Fennec Foxes are a team of fighters, from manager to players, and even fans.
Keep in mind that Algeria is the only Arab state to participate in the World Cup this year, hence it is a given that the whole Arab world will be pouring their support to the boys in green. All of whom know that realistically Algeria has no chance of winning the World Cup, especially when considering teams like Argentina, Brazil and Spain will be in the race. However, everybody familiar with the desert fennec fox is defiantly anticipating one hell of a performance, one hell of a display, and one hell of a fight.
Written by Dhari Al-Ajeel