Algeria’s World Cup campaign in 2014 will be remembered for their hard work, determination and willingness to have a go and attack the opposition. The Desert Foxes scored seven goals in total. They also broke the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup match by an African side.
We saw in Egypt’s opening game where they did well against a poor Uruguay side. And for the first 70 minutes, the Pharaohs were comfortable. However, Hector Cuper went for a draw and opted to not bring on Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, and ultimately his team were punished.
Maybe he thought a point against the hardest team in the group would be a great result. But game management has to come into play. Points at the World Cup are so precious. Egypt went on to lose the game in the last minute.
Teams will naturally tire with the sheer amount of running they have to do when playing defensively. And not just physically – because mentally concentration levels will drop too.
Tunisia went for exactly the same approach against England. This is one of the poorest England sides this century, and Tunisia should have been more brave. Instead they sat back with risky rugby style tackles on Harry Kane. Again, their unwillingness to attack an England defence that had never played together before has ultimately cost them of getting any points.
The four African sides at Russia 2018 have scored one goal combined at this tournament, which is terrible. And it was from a soft penalty so no goals from open play. The second round of fixtures will see these teams forced to come out of their shell, with survival on the line. But perhaps not taking tips from how Algeria played in 2014 will prove costly.