Bougherra gives hope to Africa’s nearly-men


Algeria will be North Africa’s only representatives at the World Cup but Vahid Halilhodzic’s side have proved they are more than capable of causing an upset on the big stage, having defied the odds so many times before in qualification.

The Desert Foxes had the away-goals rule to thank for their passage through to Brazil after a hard-fought contest with Burkina Faso.

Now they will be hoping for an even bigger rub of the green if they are to progress to the knock-out stages for the first time.

Algeria caused one of the all-time biggest World Cup upsets on the first day of the 1982 tournament — their debut in the competition — when they edged out reigning European champions West Germany 2-1 in a thrilling encounter.

The result was overshadowed on the final day of the group when Algeria, who needed West Germany to beat Austria by a heavy margin, watched the two sides play out a cynical friendly after Horst Hrubesch’s early goal meant both teams would progress at the cost of the Algerians.

If they are to progress to the knockout stages then they will rely on versatile Madjid Bougherra (above) who cemented his place in the nation’s sporting history when his crucial strike against Burkina Faso sealed qualification.

The 31-year-old spent many years in the British leagues — peaking with Scottish giants Rangers — and now plies his trade at Lekhwiya, whom he helped win the Qatar Stars League in his first season.