Algeria vs. Russia: World Cup Group H Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2014

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Algeria battled back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Russia in Curitiba on Thursday, with the result good enough to guarantee them second spot in Group H and a place in the second round.

Russia took the lead through Aleksandr Kokorin, but a header from Islam Slimani handed Algeria a place in the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time in their history.

The result will not erase the memories of the Anschluss of Gijon in 1982, but it will taste very sweet for the North African nation.

Russia were disappointing against Belgium and South Korea but made a flying start against Algeria and were in front inside seven minutes.

A fine cross from Dmitri Kombarov invited a header, and Kokorin obliged, as he attacked the ball at pace before planting his header into the top corner.

Great header from Kokorin to put #RUS ahead against #ALG https://t.co/yCLu7JO11v (H/T @ActuFoot_)

— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) June 26, 2014

The Russians have been accused by some, such as Sasha Goryunov of The Telegraph, of lacking a bit of flair, but they passed the ball with pace, style and authority against Algeria.

A second goal almost came Russia's way in quite spectacular fashion on 26 minutes.

Russia players could hardly fail to see their manager.
Russia players could hardly fail to see their manager.Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Picking the ball up on the halfway line, Oleg Shatov cut infield at pace. He went past two defenders before letting fly from 30 yards. Algeria keeper Rais M'Bolhi was a stranded spectator, but the ball flew inches wide.

Algeria's aim was to get Yacine Brahimi on the ball at every available opportunity, but Russia boss Fabio Capello, bedecked in a bright red tank top, had clearly done his homework as his players swarmed around him every time he got the ball.

Slimani had a decent chance shortly before the interval when rising unmarked at a corner, but he sent his header straight into the arms of Igor Akinfeev.

A slick Russia break at the start of the second half gave Alexander Samedov the chance to secure a cushion for his side, but M'Bolhi stood up bravely to make the save.

Russia looked nervous when faced with Algeria free-kicks, but on a number of occasions the African side wasted the openings by being too physical in the box and committing fouls.

But on the hour, Algeria got it right. A free-kick was whipped in to the far post, Akinfeev got caught under the ball and Slimani nodded home to draw his side level.

Slimani totally justifying Halilhodzic's decision to swap him in for Soudani after the Belgium game.

— Ed Dove (@EddyDove) June 26, 2014

Alexander Kerzhakov was on the periphery for much of the contest, but he combined well with Samedov to test M'Bolhi's handling.

That, though, was the final chance of note for Russia as the late onslaught failed to materialise.

Russia's next World Cup appearance will be on home soil when they host the 2018 iteration, as they will not have to go through qualifying.

For Algeria, they can now look ahead to a meeting with Germany. Now, a win over Joachim Low's side would maybe, just maybe erase the memories of 1982.

Algeria Player Ratings
Player1st-half rating2nd-half rating
Rais M'Bolhi 57
Aissa Mandi 56
Essaid Belkalem 56
Rafik Halliche 66
Djamel Mesbah56
Carl Medjani 56
Nabil Bentaleb 56
Sofiane Feghouli 66
Yacine Brahimi6.56
Abdelmoumene Djabou67
Islam Slimani6.57.5
Substitutes
Hassan Yebda6
Nabil Ghilas6
El Arabi Soudani6
B/R
Russia Player Ratings
Player1st-half rating2nd-half rating
Igor Akinfeev 65.5
Alexey Kozlov 56
Sergey Ignashevich 56
Vasili Berezutski 66
Dmitry Kombarov 76
Alexander Samedov 66
Denis Glushakov6.5-
Victor Faizulin 66
Oleg Shatov 76.5
Alexander Kerzhakov5.55
Aleksandr Kokorin 76.5
Substitutes
Igor Denisov6
Alan Dzagoev6
Maksim Kanunnikov6
B/R

Post Match Reaction

Russia coach Capello felt his side paid the price for making small errors, per Fifa.com.

In my career, I’ve never seen a World Cup at this level. The quality is absolutely incredible, the pace is so intense. This is a great tournament. If you make the slightest mistake, you pay for it. We made minor mistakes which we’ve paid for.