CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Thirty two years on from one of the most controversial moments in World Cup history, Algeria finally has a real opportunity to reach the second round of the World Cup for the first time.
When it meets Russia on Thursday in Group H in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, Algeria knows that a second straight win will mean a place in the last 16. A draw would probably be enough too — unless South Korea secures a big win over Belgium, which has already qualified.
After a late 1-0 defeat to Belgium in its second game, Russia can only hope to progress with a win. Should South Korea beat Belgium, it would then go down to goal difference between the Russians and South Koreans.
Following the disappointment of losing its opening game to Belgium 2-1, despite being ahead for much of the match, Algeria is now back in contention after a convincing 4-2 victory over South Korea. It was Algeria's first win in in the World Cup since 1982.
The performance showed the team's attacking intent with three of the changes from the first game introduced by coach Vahid Halilhodzic getting on the score sheet. Algeria has shown itself to be well-organized and technically assured, with midfielder Sofiane Feghouli directing much of the team's play.
Qualification could also help erase the bitter memory of 1982 when Algeria failed to progress to the second stage after West Germany and Austria played out a result that suited them both. The two teams, meeting a day after Algeria had won its last group game, knew that a 1-0 win for West Germany would put both through to the second round at Algeria's expense.
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