Football Football

Algeria ready to make history


BRAHIMI-KOREASOROCABA, June 24- Algeria are ready to make history and reach the World Cup second round for the first time, said playmaker Yacine Brahimi on Tuesday.

The Desert Foxes can assure themselves of a place in the last 16 with victory over struggling Russia on Thursday although even a draw could suffice were South Korea to lose to table toppers Belgium.

“It is one of the most important matches of my career, it is a match which can write a new chapter in the history of our country, and that is very much in our heads,” said Brahimi, the 24-year-old France born midfielder who plays his club football for Spanish championship side Granada.

Brahimi, who played up to Under-21 level for the French national side before announcing he was switching to Algeria, which he could do as he has Algerian parents, said that the players were keeping their feet on the ground ahead of the Russian game despite the expectations back home.

His team-mate, FC Porto striker Nabil Ghilas, concurred and said the goal was to give the Algerians a second successive notable victory having thumped South Korea 4-2 on Sunday in what was their first win at the finals since beating West Germany and Chile in 1982.

“We are serene, but also focussed,” said Ghilas.

“We are going to try and achieve a second great result and bring pleasure to the Algerian people.”

Prior to training, their Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic gathered the players round him and gave them a motivational talk for 10 minutes before releasing them for their session.

Halilhodzic, who many thought was lucky to keep his job after a first round exit at the Africa Cup of Nations last year, is likely to make changes for the game against Fabio Capello’s Russians.

The 61-year-old — who played at the 1982 World Cup for the then Yugoslavia — is likely to bring in Riyad Mahrez for winger Abdelmoumene Djabou and Medhi Lacen could start instead of Carl Medjani.