Algeria shocked Russia with a 1-1 draw, sending them through to the Round of 16 for the first time ever against Germany.
This was a head-to-head for qualification, though they also had to hope South Korea didn’t beat Belgium in the other Group H game. Algeria were fresh from a 4-2 hammering of the Koreans, but Fabio Capello’s Russia had just one point and one goal scored, so threw Alexander Kokorin and Aleksandr Kerzhakov into the same XI.
The new attacking approach worked well, as after just six minutes Kokorin soared between defenders to nod in Dmitry Kombarov’s cross from the left. The goal arrived while Algeria were down to 10 men, as Sofiane Feghouli was off the pitch receiving treatment for a head wound.
Oleg Shatov surged forward and unleashed a strike that dipped viciously at the last moment, skimming the crossbar. Algeria had the chance to equalise, but Igor Akinfeev got his fingertips to an Islam Slimani header.
Slimani had another good opportunity in the air, but this time Akinfeev’s save was considerably easier, as he didn’t get enough power behind it.
Alexander Samedov had a great chance straight after the restart, a give-and-go sending him clear on goal, but Rais Mbolhi rushed off his line to bravely block.
Algeria snatched an equaliser thanks to Akinfeev’s second major howler of the tournament, as he misjudged the flight of a set piece and Slimani was able to nod in. However, replays suggest a green laser was being flashed into his eyes just before he jumped.
This point would qualify Algeria for the Round of 16, as South Korea were still goalless with Belgium. Kerzhakov reacted with an angled drive well smothered by Mbolhi and Kokorin’s strike charged down, but Feghouli wasted a promising counter.
Russia pegged Algeria back in the final stages in their desperate search for a goal that would secure qualification, but rarely actually troubled the goalkeeper.
Algeria 1-1 Russia
Scorers: Kokorin 6 (R), Slimani 60 (A)
Algeria: Mbolhi; Mandi, Halliche, Belkalem, Mesbah; Bentaleb, Medjani; Feghouli, Brahimi (Yebda 71), Djabou (Ghilas 76); Slimani
Russia: Akinfeev; Kozlov, Berezutskiy, Ignashevich, Kombarov; Glushakov (Denisov 46), Fayzulin; Samedov, Shatov (Dzagoev 67), Kokorin; Kerzhakov (Kanunnikov 81)
Ref: Cakir (TUR)