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Halilhodzic delighted with progress

27 Jun 2014 07:46:52

Halilhodzic delighted with progress

Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic praised his players attitude and aptitude after they progressed to the last-16 of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

The north African side fell behind to Aleksandr Kokorin's sixth-minute goal in Curitiba, only for Islam Slimani to level the score on the hour.

Algeria held out for the 1-1 draw at the Arena da Baixada, setting-up a mouth-watering last-16 clash with Germany.

That match offers les Fennecs a chance at redemption 32 years on from West Germany's controversial win over Austria, which allowed both countries to advance at World Cup '82 at their expense.

That game, nicknamed the 'Disgrace in Gijon', is the reason final group matches now take place simultaneously and coach Halilhodzic knows all about that tournament, when Algeria shocked their European counterparts by beating them 2-1.

"We have not forgotten," Halilhodzic said. "Everybody has been talking about Algeria and Germany from 1982, when Algeria beat Germany 2-1, but 32 years ago is a long time.

"I am very proud of what we have achieved tonight and we deserve to be here.

"I think Algeria played a heroic match and our qualification for the second round is perfectly deserved.

"We are very, very proud of what we have done these past three years and this is the result of that.

"This is a gift for us, but a gift we went to get. We went for success with generosity, enthusiasm and discipline and I love it when I see my team fighting like this for a result.

"We've received support from all over the Arabic world - and that has been wonderful," he continued.

"The people here in Brazil also appreciate our sincerity and enthusiasm and I'm proud of that. But more than that, I'm proud of the way the team has played."

Meanwhile, Russia counterpart Fabio Capello was left rueing what could have been after what he felt was a winnable match.

"We didn't make any mistakes today, we really didn't," the Italian said. "We played an excellent game, had the opportunities to score the goal and win.

"Their goalkeeper had a couple of excellent saves, so up until this moment, well, I can't say there were any mistakes today. There just weren't."

Capello also highlighted the fact his goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, had a laser pen shined in his face just before Slimani levelled.

"Well, we're going home," he said when asked for his reaction. "He was blinded by the laser beam, That is the absolute truth. There are pictures, you can see that in the footage."


PA

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