Yahia: Algeria must eliminate errors

POLOKWANE - Algeria must cut out silly mistakes when they face England in their second World Cup Group C match, captain Antar Yahia said on Monday.

"We gave presents to the opposition," he said reflecting on a 1-0 defeat at the weekend in their opening game against Slovenia, who are the lowest ranked team in the group.

Forward Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off after 73 minutes for controlling the ball with his hand and six minutes later keeper Faouzi Chaouchi let the ball slip past him into the net.

"I hope that in the coming games we don't make errors like that which will be more costly because Slovenia weren't able to put us in danger at any moment," said Yahia.

Ghezzal had been on the pitch for just 15 minutes but had already begun to worry Slovenia's defence when he was sent off and will now miss the England game in Cape Town on Friday.

"When we lose Ghezzal we have one less (up front) and the tactics change completely so destabilise us a little bit," said Algeria defender Majid Bougherra."

Keeper Chaouchi cut a solitary figure when he crept off the pitch alone at the end of the match leaving his team mates to offer commiserations to their thousands of dejected fans at the Polokwane stadium for Algeria's first World Cup in 24 years.

He also quickly left the stadium alone, shaking his head at waiting media, anxious to prise a few words from him.


"We must psychologically bounce back from this disappointment," coach Rabah Saadane said, describing the looming England match as "very, very difficult."

But the English also suffered a goalkeeping calamity when Robert Green let the ball slip through his fingers to gift the United States an equaliser in their 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Algeria's Yazid Mansouri, who was dropped from the team with Yahia taking over as captain for the opening match, said they would try to take advantage of England's goalkeeping weakness.

Asked about Green, he said: "We will play on that."

Yahia was also optimistic about their chances, saying England were not as strong on the pitch as on paper.

"Football's not maths. England have great individual players but we saw (on Saturday) that maybe the team is not at its very best," he said.

Algeria complained it was difficult to get used to the mixed synthetic and grass pitch being trialled at the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane as well as the new ball in their opener.

Maybe the larger stadium in Cape Town - and 100 percent grass pitch - will spur them on against England.

"We will play like lions," said midfielder Hassan Yebda. "We have nothing to lose," added Bougherra.

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