Algeria World Cup Qualification Sparks Massive Celebrations

Image: Algerian fans celebrate in Algiers
Algerian fans celebrate in Algiers on Wednesday after Algeria eliminated Russia with a 1-1 draw in a FIFA 2014 World Cup Group H match.FAROUK BATICHE / AFP - Getty Images

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At the 1982 World Cup, Germany denied Algeria a place in the second round by playing out an infamous match with Austria that finished 1-0 to the Germans. The result, achieved by just knocking the ball around after the goal had been scored, qualified the European neighbors and sent the Algerians home.

Thursday's 1-1 draw with Russia has not only helped Algeria turn the page on one of the tournament's darkest moments, it has also offered a chance to rip the page out completely with an unlikely revenge victory on Monday.

Algerian soccer fans celebrate after their team qualified for the World Cup, in Marseille, France, on Thursday.Claude Paris / AP

Qualification for the second round in Brazil finally allows the team from north Africa to move on from one of the World Cup's most contentious episodes.

And the relief was certainly evident in the celebrations on the pitch.

Qualification prompted mass celebrations in the packed Algerian section in Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, and on the pitch among the players. Even the combative coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, was hugging staff and players and shaking his head in apparent disbelief.

"I'm very proud of what we achieved tonight," Halilhodzic said. "I think Algeria played a heroic match and our qualification is perfectly deserved."

— The Associated Press