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Algeria

Algeria

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Team Profile: Algeria

GettyImagesAlgeria defeated the mighty West Germany at the 1982 finals.

Appearances at finals:
1982 - First round
1986 - First round

Overall record at finals: Played 6, Won 2, Drawn 1, Lost 3.

Best performance: First round in 1982 and 1986.

Most appearances at finals: Faouzi Mansouri (1982, 1986), Mahmoud Guendouz (1982, 1986), Rabah Madjer (1982, 1986) - 6.

Most goals at finals: Salah Assad (1982) - 2.

World Cup high: Beating European champions West Germany at Espana 82 in Gijon. Goals from Lahkdar Belloumi and Rabah Madjer provided one of the greatest shocks in the tournament's history.

World Cup low: The exit from the '82 tournament, which remains one of the greatest scandals of the modern game. In the final group games, West Germany and Austria cooked up a footballing Anschluss that took both teams through via a 1-0 German win. Algeria, despite beating Chile, exited in rage. Many German fans of a certain age still admit their embarassment about the affair.

World Cup legend: Midfielder Lakhdar Belloumi scored the winner against West Germany in 1982 and was singled out as a playmaker by Pele for his showings in 1982. He is also notorious for the ban he received for his involvement in a brawl that erupted during a 1990 qualifier with Egypt. An Egyptian doctor was injured by a broken bottle and Belloumi was accused. Only in 2009 was he cleared of the affair.

The story so far: Algeria looked capable of becoming the first African team to make the knockout stages in 1982 before the Austro-German scandal. The quality of their play had surprised many and the manner of their exit saw sympathy extended across the world. The scandal forced FIFA to play final group games simultaneously, though that was scant consolation to Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes), who had beaten Chile 3-2 in their final game.

Four years later, they qualified for Mexico but found a tough group in their way. A draw with Northern Ireland in the first game saw Djamel Zidane (no relation) score their only goal of the finals. A narrow 1-0 defeat to Brazil gave cause for encouragement but Spain destroyed them 3-0 in Monterrey.

The brawl with Egypt in qualifying for 1990 came as a result of non-qualification for that tournament. It was to signal another 20 years in the World Cup wilderness.

Qualification: The exile was finally ended but it arrived via several twists and turns. The first qualifying group saw Senegal and Gambia held off before the final round drew them with sworn rivals Egypt. A 3-1 win against the Pharoahs put Algeria in the driving seat but the final match against the African champions in Cairo saw Egypt secure the 2-0 victory they needed to secure a supplementary play-off.

Sudan provided the neutral venue for another meeting between the two teams and Algeria shocked many observers by qualifying after a 1-0 win. Centre-back Anthar Yahia finished like a forward in crashing home a volley before half-time. The expected ructions did not take place and, from there, Algeria looked the better side in Khartoum and thus became deserved visitors to South Africa.

Qualifying record: P13, W8, D2, L3, F17, A8.

Most appearances: Karim Ziani, Lounes Gaouaoui (12).

Top goalscorers: Antar Yahia, Karim Ziani (3).