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Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:25 UK

My First World Cup: Hassan Yebda


Yebda is one of two Portsmouth players - along with Nadir Belhadj - in the Algeria squad

By Ben Sutherland

Algeria star Hassan Yebda has told the BBC he will "do everything" to win his first game at a World Cup finals - as he says it is the only way out of a group he believes England will win.

The Benfica player, who has spent most of the season on loan at the relegated Premiership side Portsmouth, is likely to line up at the heart of the Algerian midfield against Slovenia on 13 June in Polokwane.

And he told BBC World Service that three points there would be vital in the effort to get out of Group C - in which they also face the USA - and into the last 16.

"I think we have to do everything we can to win the first game," he said.

"It will be very difficult, because we have a good team, but we have a chance against Slovenia and the United States.

"I think England will finish first in that group - it will be very difficult for us. We will do everything to win; we will do our best."

No doubts

Yebda spent the year on loan at troubled Portsmouth with compatriot Nadir Belhadj, and made an immediate impact, being named the club's player of the month for September.

But he could not help keep them up, and to compound his misery, he missed the FA Cup final - which Portsmouth lost 1-0 to Chelsea - after failing a fitness test on the morning of the showpiece game.

BBC My First World Cup XI
11 players making their debut on the World Cup stage at South Africa 2010

He said that the thought of the World Cup to come, had helped him through some difficult moments in the season, and that he was now "very excited" about the tournament.

"It's a very big pressure, but I think it's a good pressure as well," he said.

"I will do my best, and I want to show to the world that Algeria has a big team and a good team."

Paris-born Yebda was picked for France at all junior levels, but opted for Algeria in the middle of their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign in June 2009 following a change in Fifa rules that allowed players to swap nationalities at any age.

At the time, Algeria were doing well in their qualification group - but owing to the way the final results fell, they faced a massive two-legged play-off match against fierce rivals Egypt in order to get through.

However, Yebda said he did not have any doubt when he chose Algeria that he would soon be heading to South Africa.

"I made this decision at the end of the qualification for the World Cup - before the game against Rwanda; after, we played the game against Egypt, won that, and qualified," he explained.

"So when I made this decision, I knew that we would [make it to] the World Cup."

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see also
Meghni ruled out for World Cup
02 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Nations Cup leaves Grant baffled
22 Dec 09 |  African
Algeria call up Yebda and Abdoune
30 Sep 09 |  African
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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