The earliy predictions have been proven right. As was expected, England and The USA have qualified from Group C. Algeria and Slovenia have to go home. Algeria and Slovenia fought hard to try and get through and the suspense lasted until the 92nd minute of the last match, until the USA scored the only goal of the match. Slovenia missed out on qualification by a whisker.
Going into the last match, Algeria had to win by a two-goal margin to qualify. That was a big ask for a team that had scored only one goal ( a penalty) in their last 5 matches. So Algeria left the World Cup without scoring a single goal.
Throughout the group matches in this World Cup, Algeria showed that they had a good defence and a decent midfield with a lot of gifted and talented young players who would come of age in the coming years. The stumbling block was the lack of goals due mainly to the poor quality of Algeria's forwards who did not live up to expectations. Algeria's coach Saadane should take part of the blame for this problem because he did not select the right offensive players. Abdelmalek Ziaya, Algeria's top goalscorer for example, should have been in this team. Saadane ignored him. Boudebouz, an up and coming player, should have been given a chance against the USA after his good performance against England.
One should criticize Saadane (incidentally, he is the only African coach in the 2010 World Cup finals) for his defensive tactics. He never gave the impression that he was pushing his players forward, urging them to move the ball faster in midfield to feed the forwards. Algeria's play was too predictable and, at times, a bit anarchic.
The World Cup adventure is therefore over for Algeria but this team has great potential if it is taken care of and nurtured for the coming competitions like the african Cup of Nations and the World Cup qualifiers. It is still a young team and they must have learnt a great deal in South Africa which will stand them in good stead for the future.
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