Page last updated at 22:01 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cheering Algerians throng London

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BBC London viewer Naomi Hepworth filmed the celebrating Algerians.

Thousands of Algerian football fans have been celebrating on the streets of London after their football team beat Egypt to qualify for the World Cup.

Crowds thronged Finsbury Park, Edgware Road and Marble Arch after their team won 1-0 to qualify for the first time in 24 years.

Groups were also in Oxford Circus and Piccadilly in central London.

Witnesses described cheering, chanting and dancing in the streets. Drivers in Oxford Circus sounded their car horns.

Within an hour the crowds had reached Trafalgar Square.

By 2130 GMT, approximately 3,000 fans were celebrating under Nelson's Column with more still arriving.

We have taken our time - but what did you expect?
Algerian fan in London

Groups climbed the Fourth Plinth - recently home to Antony Gormley's public art installation.

Others waved flares and chanted: "Viva Algerie".

One fan told BBC London: "We played a really good game and we deserve it.

"We have taken our time [getting to the World Cup] - but what did you expect?"

He added: "It's a privilege to be there."

Algerian players celebrate their win
The Algerian players celebrated their win with fans in Khartoum

Naomi Hepworth filmed the celebrations outside her flat in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, north London.

She said the fans "let off fireworks outside my flat. They fell to the ground and prayed - it was really quite moving."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Everything has been in good spirits.

"As long as they stay on the straight and narrow we are happy to see them."

The play-off match between Algeria and Egypt, who have a long-term rivalry, had to be held after a late Egyptian goal in a group match between them on Saturday left the two teams level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

The play-off took place in Khartoum, capital of neutral Sudan.

Earlier in the week Egyptian fans stoned the Algerian team's coach.



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