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Algeria fight back against Russia to take final slot in World Cup last 16

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-27

Algeria progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in their history on Thursday as Islam Slimani's second-half header earned them a 1-1 draw with Russia in Curitiba.

Algeria finished second in Group H to Belgium, who beat South Korea 1-0 despite playing the second half with 10 men after Steven Defour was sent off for a stamp just before half-time.

Jan Vertonghen hit the winner 12 minutes from time as Belgium finished with a perfect three wins in Group H. Belgium play the United States in the last 16. Algeria face Germany.

Algeria appeared to be in trouble after Alexander Kokorin put the Russians in front after just six minutes with an accurate header into the top corner.

However, Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev's nightmare tournament continued when he tried to claim Yacine Brahimi's free-kick on the hour mark and missed the ball completely allowing Slimani the easiest of tasks to nod home his second goal of the tournament.

However, television replays showed the CSKA Moscow goalkeeper may have been distracted by a green laser pen being shone in his eye seconds before the goal was scored.

The Desert Foxes will now have the chance to avenge their controversial exit from the 1982 World Cup, when West Germany and Austria played out a mutual beneficial 1-0 win for the Germans, when they face Joachim Loew's men in Porto Alegre on Monday.

Algeria made the worst possible start as with Sofiane Feghouli off the field receiving treatment for a head injury, Russia used the extra space afforded to them down Algeria's right to open the scoring.

Left-back Dmitry Kombarov sauntered forward and his cross was expertly nodded into the top corner by Kokorin.

Feghouli immediately tried to make amends with a bustling run past a host of Russian defenders, but the Valencia man was eventually crowded out and the ball cleared to safety.

Oleg Shatov then came within inches of doubling Russia's advantage with a dipping shot from range that flew just past the post.

However, Algeria were posing the greater threat and Akinfeev went some way to redeeming himself for an awful error which cost his side a goal in their opening game against South Korea with a fine save from Slimani's first effort of the evening.

Russia came flying out in the second half, though, looking to kill the game off and should have done so after a lovely one-two between Kokorin and Aleksandr Samedov put the latter clean through on goal, but Rais Mbolhi stood up well to block his effort.

And that save was to prove vital as Akinfeev flapped at Brahimi's free-kick and Slimani headed into an unguarded net.

Mbolhi was forced into another fine save 21 minutes from time as Samedov played in Alexander Kerzhakov down the right and his low strike was held at the second attempt by the Algerian goalkeeper.

Russia continued to push for a winner, but when Aleksei Kozlov's header sailed wide in stoppage time their last chance was gone.

Defeat means Russia have still yet to qualify for the last 16 since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and continues coach Fabio Capello's poor record at the World Cup after he oversaw England's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in the last 16 four years ago.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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Live Blog WORLD CUP 2014 LIVE: Algeria-Russia

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Date created : 2014-06-26

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