Category Archives: National Team

The 23-man Algeria squad that Madjer should be picking

With the Algerian national team back in action next month, Rabah Madjer has a lot of thinking and picking to do for his 23-man squad to play against Tanzania and Iran.

So we have come up with the following squad that we believe should be named based on factors such as form and experience.

Goalkeepers: Rais M’Bolhi, Chamseddine Rahmani, Faouzi Chaouchi

M’Bolhi is undoubtedly Algeria’s number one goalkeeper. He should be backed up by Chaouchi’s experience whilst Rahmani is top of the Algerian league.

Defenders: Ramy Bensebaini, Aissa Mandi, Carl Medjani, Youcef Attal, Abderrahmane Hachoud, Mohamed Bencherifa, Mohamed Fares

It’s important to have a mix of domestic and foreign-born players in the squad. You need to have defenders that play continentally to stand a chance of winning in Africa. The full-back area is weak, but Bencherifa has been fantastic for CS Constantine, whilst Hachoud has tonnes of experience in Algerian football.

Midfielders: Sofiane Bendebka, Yacine Brahimi, Riyad Mahrez, Zinedine Ferhat, Ismael Bennacer, Sofiane Hanni, Nabil Bentaleb, Sofiane Feghouli, Idir Ouali

Taider should be nowhere near the team after moving to play amateur teams in Canada. The midfield needs to be built around Bennacer; such a bright talent dominating Serie B and top of the league there too. Some great options on either wing with Brahimi, Mahrez, Feghouli and Ferhat. That is where Algeria’s main goal threat should come from.

Forwards: Hilal Soudani, Baghdad Bounedjah, Islam Slimani, Lamine Abid

Soudani and Bounedjah have been in great scoring form. Although Slimani has had very little game time, he is still a big threat. Abid deserves to be rewarded for being the leading scorer domestically.

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Algeria to face Tanzania and Iran in March

Algeria’s national team will play against Tanzania and Iran next month. The Desert Foxes will be looking for a positive start to 2018, and have plenty of time to play after not qualifying for the World Cup.

The first game will be up against Tanzania on the 22nd of March at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers. Algeria recently played against them in 2015 and won 7-0, so it is a bit of an unnecessary match as it does not benefit either side.

Five days later, Rabah Madjer’s men travel to Austria where they will play Iran in Graz. Iran wanted to play against Algeria as a test for their World Cup group game against fellow North African side Morocco.

The qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations were originally meant to commence in March, however the postponement of the tournament to the summer has freed up more space for friendlies.

Iran are currently 34th in the FIFA World Rankings, whilst minnows Tanzania are ranked 146th which questions the point of playing against such a low rated opposition.

On the other hand, the game could present a good opportunity to try out some new young players and see how they perform for the national team on the big stage.

Algeria’s first match of 2018 is confirmed

Algeria’s first match of the calendar year has been confirmed and they will face Iran on the 27th of March 2018. The game, which will take place in the Austrian capital city of Vienna, will be a good opportunity for manager Rabah Madjer to test his team against a side going to the World Cup.

Iran wanted to play against Algeria as they were drawn with fellow North African side Morocco in the group stage of the World Cup, and the match will also be a nice opportunity to see Les Verts play against non-African opposition.

The two teams have met three times before, with Algeria winning two and losing one. Next month’s match will be the first game between the Algeria and Iran since 1991.

Carlos Quieroz’s team are currently 34th in the FIFA World Rankings, which is 23 places above Algeria so it should be a good encounter. Madjer has also said that Algeria hope to confirm a second friendly in March, which is expected to be against fellow African side Gabon.

Algeria have a good record against teams from Asia, outlined with their 1-0 win in 2010 against the United Arab Emirates, and a thumping 4-2 win in the 2014 World Cup in which they became the first ever African team to ever score four goals in a World Cup match.

The Disgrace of Gijon will never be forgotten

There are many candidates for the biggest disgrace in the history of the World Cup. Maradona scoring with the hand of God. Zidane head-butting Materazzi in his final career match. But to Algerians, there will only ever be one true injustice; the disgrace of Gijon.

Algeria had qualified for the World Cup in 1982 for the first time in their history. They were drawn in Group 2, with West Germany, Austria and Chile. A tough group at first glance, but an unbelievable opportunity nonetheless to compete with the world’s best.

The Desert Foxes started with an incredible result; arguably the biggest shock in World Cup history. West Germany mocked the North Africans ahead of the game, with their captain even going so far as saying that they could beat Algeria with cigars in their mouths.

However, Algeria beat West Germany 2-1, thanks to two great goals from Rabah Madjer and Lakhdar Belloumi. This result sent shockwaves to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Les Verts suffered a defeat in their second group match, with a 2-0 loss to Austria that sent them to the top of the group with one match remaining.

Al Jazeera

Algeria faced Chile in their final group encounter, and remarkably went 3-0 up in 35 minutes. Two late goals from the South Americans gave Rachid Mekhloufi’s side a scare, but the final whistle went at 3-2 and Algeria had won two matches to the amazement of the footballing world. These two late goals from Chile changed the complexion of the final game however.

Due to the goal difference, West Germany knew that a win by up to two goals would send both them and their geographical neighbours Austria through to the second round. They took the lead in the 11th minute and went 1-0 up, but what was to follow was horrific to watch.

Both teams made no attempt to even make a tackle, let alone shoot at goal. The ball was, in turns, passed round the defences and neither side tried to make any effort. It got so bad, that one commentator refused to commentate on the game anymore.

Spanish fans inside the ground in Gijon were also appalled. They cheered and chanted for Algeria, but it made no difference as the teams continued to deliberately miss on purpose and fire shots wide. With West Germany, Austria and Algeria are level on four points, it was the Arab nation that were eliminated on goal difference.

To this day, that match left its legacy on world football. It is the reason why the final group matches of international tournaments now have to be played at the same time, to avoid any similar scenarios. But to Algerians, they will never ever forget the Disgrace in Gijon.

Algeria announce Iran and Portugal matches

Algeria will play two international friendlies against Iran and Portugal in 2018, according to the Algerian football federation. This comes after a statement was read out by the general manager Hakim Medane. He said the following:

“We have officially signed an agreement with the Iranian football federation for a friendly match next March, which will be played in a European country.”

“We will then face Portugal in Lisbon on either the 7th or 8th of June. These are two good teams that are excellent sparring partners for the Algerian national team.”

Both Portugal and Iran will face Morocco in the World Cup next year, and this is the reason why both these two nations have decided to face the Desert Foxes.

And Algeria are set to confirm a third match, this time an African team, in March 2018 that looks set to be Gabon. Medane went on to say that:

“We will play a second match in March that will likely be against an African side. The national team will probably play two other matches between late May and early June.”

Algeria were able to start organising all of these matches as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers do not start until September 2018.

DZ Football’s 2017 Algerian Player of the Year

As the year comes to an end, we have created our own accolade to award to the 2017 Algerian Footballer of the Year. Although we have come up with our four nominations for the prize, it will be the public that decides the winner. You can vote for who you want to win on our Twitter page. So, here are the four candidates:

Yacine Brahimi (FC Porto, 27 years old)

The pacey winger has helped Porto through to the last 16 of the Champions League, thanks to his regular goals and assists. They are also unbeaten in the Portuguese League this season. Brahimi was also the top scorer for Algeria in 2017. He was also voted as Porto’s player of the year for 2017.

Oussama Darfalou (USM Alger, 24 years old)

The USMA striker is the only player nominated who plays in the Algerian League, but his stunning goal-scoring record meant that he deserves a place on this shortlist. With 10 goals in this season’s Ligue 1 DZ, no player has scored more goals than Darfalou. He also helped USM Alget to a CAF Champions League semi-final.

Sofiane Hanni (Anderlecht, 26 years old)

Hanni broke into the Algerian national team this year, and has been a brilliant addition to the squad. He scored four goals for Algeria in 2017. As well as this, he was also a champion in the Belgian League as he won the title with Anderlecht. This qualified him for Champions League football towards the end of the year.

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City, 26 years old)

The maestro himself had a year full of ups and downs, but we cannot forget some of the amazing performances that Mahrez has put in. Mahrez became the all-time Algerian goalscorer in the Premier League, as well as helping Leicester to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Algeria will only go backwards under Zetchi

Many people were happy to see Mohamed Raouraoua leave his role as head of the Algerian football federation and to see Kheireddine Zetchi replace him. Zetchi came in from his role at Paradou, where he helped create one of the best academies in Africa. Paradou have since been promoted to the top tier of the Algerian league.

Liberte Algerie

Zetchi’s first promise was a heavyweight manager to come in and build. Targets included Claudio Ranieri and Aitor Karanka, who would have been fantastic additions to the coaching staff, but were Algeria really going to have any chance of appointing such big names?

Lucas Alcaraz was the man he appointed. A man who had been sacked by Granada was deemed to be good enough for Algeria? It then became apparent that Alcaraz was a Spanish acquaintance of the current Paradou manager Josep Nogues; so it barely took any work at all to find a new manager.

Then came the World Cup qualifiers. The first real test for Zetchi’s and his dawning era. It went horribly, horribly wrong. The decision to let Riyad Mahrez, the best player in the squad, to leave in order to find a new club on the day of a crucial game against Zambia was a pathetic move by the FAF. It showed Zetchi did not care and the lack of ambition. Raouraoua would have never sanctioned that decision. Not a chance.

No World Cup for the first time since 2006 was a real disappointment to the entire nation. The current squad on paper is extremely better than the one that qualified for 2010, yet it has failed miserably without winning a match.

Alcaraz was sacked, meaning Algeria had more managers than points in the group. Raouraoua gained one point from two World Cup qualifying matches, whilst Zetchi gained one point from four with much easier fixtures.

When Madjer came in, he organised a friendly against the Central African Republic. Yet Zetchi did not even attend the match. He was too busy organising his tiles business that he owns in Morocco. Another sign that he is in it for the money, and not for the benefit of the national team.

In addition to this, he is always trying to bring in Paradou players into the team, in order to gain a percentage profit on selling them to European clubs. Selecting players from the Algerian second division, although they may have done well, was a sign that his choices were influencing the manager.

We all want to see Algeria take things seriously, and put in 100% effort, but under Zetchi it has been the complete opposite. It will only get worse.

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