2019
01/13

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Greece, Algeria back from abyss

Greece reached the World Cup finals for the first time since 1994 with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ukraine.

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Algeria also confirmed their return to the world arena after failing to qualify since 1984.

One goal in Greece – Ukraine match

Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Salpingidis netted the only goal of the match sending Greece, the 2004 European champions, into their second World Cup finals after a 16-year absence.

“I’m proud of my players. They put all of their heart and soul into today’s match,” said Greece manager Otto Rehhagel.

“It was really tough to contain Ukraine’s attacks throughout the match but we did our best and luckily we managed to do it and achieve the desired result.”

Deadlocked

Greece and Ukraine, who were deadlocked at 0-0 after the first leg in Athens on Saturday, struggled to impose themselves early on in a match played on a rain-soaked pitch of the half-empty, 50,000-seater Donbass Arena.

Algeria qualify

Algerians at home and abroad exploded with joy as the final whistle sounded in Khartoum to send the north African country to its first football World Cup since 1986.

Cheers broke out around Algeria at the end of the match, after what one supporter, 45-year-old Djamel, called “90 minutes of the worst agonies”.

Violence in France

In France, celebrations were marred by violence in some areas, with cars set alight and police firing tear gas.

Algeria celebrates

Hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, flooded into the streets in towns and villages across Algeria, celebrating with flags, fireworks and car horns.

Police join in

Even a few police officers lost their cool, sounding their sirens to join in the rapture at the triumph of “les Verts” — Algeria’s green-shirted side who beat Egypt 1-0 in the do-or-die playoff in Khartoum.

Around Algiers, fans shouted “Thank you, les Verts”, “One, two, three, viva Algeria” and “We’re going to the World Cup”.

Young and old overwhelmed

Packed into cars and running through the crowded streets, young men and women — many wrapped in the green and white national flag — beamed with happiness.

“It’s too much, they’ve given us everything,” said Naima, 18, laughing and crying at once.

“Do you have any idea what the tension was like? We’ve shown our support for the team since they were beaten in

Cairo on Saturday and now we’ve done it. The dream has come true!” one of her friends shouted.

Crowds swarm into Oran

Huge crowds turned out on the promenade in the western coastal city of Oran and similar scenes of jubilation were reported in other towns and villages around the country.

The mood was very different in Cairo, where the normally traffic-packed streets were deserted during the match.

Egypt party loses buzz

Young Egyptian supporters took to the streets to bang drums and set off firecrackers after their side’s defeat, but their heart was not in it.

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