Memories of the “Disgrace of Gijon” will add fuel to the fire to this tense Last 16 encounter, but after 32 years Algeria can finally rewrite that history in this most tumultuous of World Cups.
When West Germany played Austria in their final group game of the 1982 World Cup, a narrow win for Germany would see both sides through ahead of rivals Algeria.
The match duly ended 1-0. Allegations of a conspiracy were never proved, although after the controversy Fifa ruled that all subsequent final group matches would be played simultaneously.
The Algerians were knocked out, and have never made it out of the group stages – until now.
Current coach Vahid Halilhodzic believes his side is ready to banish that lingering injustice against Germany tonight. He has called them “The representatives of the Arab world”, and the North Africans will certainly have plenty of neutral fans on their side after their unexpected progression through Group H.
Germany remain the clear favourites, but in a tournament where many European countries have struggled they will have to be wary of the African challenge. Width and space were key for Algeria in their thrashing of South Korea and decisive draw against Russia, and while their crossing was frequently erratic, Germany will not want to gift them so many opportunities down the flanks.
German coach Joachim Low has yet to see his side match the heights of their 4-0 dismantling of Portugal in the opening game. They drew 2-2 with Ghana, and were bailed out by the Golden Boot winner-in-waiting Thomas Muller against the USA.
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