World Cup guide - Algeria
Algeria have been known to upset the established order - they famously beat West Germany in the 1982 World Cup and infamously knocked out African champions Egypt to qualify for this year's finals - but they are unquestionably outsiders on their own continent this summer. The national team has failed to win anything bar the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations, after which they went into decline. This is their first World Cup appearance for 24 years.
A side packed with French-born players emerged bloodied but unbowed from the stoning of their team bus in Egypt to beat their bitter rivals in a World Cup play-off. They then recovered from a humiliating 3-0 defeat by Malawi, a team ranked 99th, to reach the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Aim: They believe a first ever appearance in the knockout stage is realistic.
THREE KEY PLAYERS
MADJID BOUGHERRA Bougherra's trademark forays with the ball out of central defence have helped him stand out during his two seasons with Scottish champions Rangers. The current Algerian Player of the Year, he kept Algeria in this year's Africa Cup of Nations with a 90th-minute equaliser against the Ivory Coast in their quarter-final tie.
YAZID MANSOURI Algeria's captain is the most-capped player in the squad. A France-born dual national who had a spell on loan at Coventry in 2003, the defensive midfielder struggled for playing time in his fourth season with French top-flight club Lorient. He suffered a torn hamstring early in the campaign and only started nine games.
KARIM ZIANI Algeria's star player provides the team's artistry, usually drifting in from the left wing. Algeria's footballer of the year from 2004 to 2006, Ziani nonetheless struggled to make an impact at club level this season following a £6m move to 2009 German champions Wolfsburg. His only contribution to the back pages in Germany was a training ground bust-up with Wolfsburg's star striker Edin Dzeko in August.
Now in his fifth spell in charge of the national team, RABAH SAADANE is the father figure of Algerian football and has been involved in his country's three World Cup appearances. He guided Algeria to both their previous appearances in the finals, though he was demoted to the backroom staff before a ball was kicked in 1982. He will be the only African coach at this summer's tournament.
His wife begged him not to accept the invitation to become national coach for the fifth time in 2007, wary of the unforgiving nature of the media and public. The strain of the job was revealed when the father of four shed tears in a press conference last June as he bemoaned the pressure ahead of the home qualifier with Egypt.
ADOPT THEM BECAUSE...
It's the birthplace of the high-brow footballer. Promising goalkeeper turned philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus was born in Algeria. He once said: "All I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football."
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
How Algeria qualified for the World Cup (UK only)
L 1-0 Senegal (A)
W 3-0 Liberia (H)
L 1-0 Gambia (A)
W 1-0 Gambia (H)
W 3-2 Senegal (H)
D 0-0 Liberia (A)
D 0-0 Rwanda (A)
W 3-1 Egypt (H)
W 2-0 Zambia (A)
W 1-0 Zambia (H)
W 3-1 Rwanda (H)
L 2-0 Egypt (A)
Algeria and Egypt finished with identical overall and head-to-head record, leading to a one-off play-off
W 1-0 Egypt
WORLD CUP BEST
1982: Stunned West Germany 2-1 in their opening group game, but controversially missed out on a place in the knockout round. West Germany and Austria met in the final group game knowing a one or two-goal win for the West Germans would qualify them both. Sure enough, West Germany scored an early goal and the game completely fizzled out.
Written by Noel Sliney