Algeria profile

Desert Foxes looking for first crown since 1990

Algeria: High spirits

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Algeria were the final nation to qualify for South Africa 2010 after beating Egypt 1-0 in an extra play-off in Sudan.

The Desert Foxes and Egypt finished ahead of Zambia and Rwanda in the final phase of World Cup qualifying but could not be separated by goal difference or head-to-head records. Therefore, a winner-takes-all encounter at a neutral venue on the final day of international qualifiers on 14 November 2009 had to be played.

In the final game of qualifiers Algeria had to avoid defeat by three goals against Egypt to book their place at the finals, but contrived to lose 2-0 to their rivals meaning a decider in impartial Sudan had to be quickly drawn up.

It took a spectacular volley from Antar Yahia five minutes before half-time to seal Algeria's passage to South Africa. A capacity crowd filled the Khartoum Stadium - with 5,000 more fans locked outside the ground - but fan violence after the match marred the event.

Algeria will make their third appearance at a World Cup finals in South Africa having previously qualified for two World Cups (1982 and 1986), where they went out in the first round on both occasions.

The Desert Foxes do have some international history having won the African Nations Cup on home soil in 1990. They have also been runners up one occasion (1984) and twice finished in third place (1984 and 1988). In 1991 they also won the little-known Afro-Asian Cup of Nations.

In 1994 they were disqualified from the African Nations Cup in Tunisia for fielding an ineligible player.

Key player: Rafik Saïfi

Although captain and midfielder Yazid Mansouri is the most-capped player in the Algerian side with 58 caps, striker Rafik Saïfi will probably be their key player at South Africa 2010.

At 34 years of age, the African showpiece will probably be the final chapter of an international career during which he has notched up 55 caps and scored 18 goals to date. Saïfi will most likely be the man his coach will look to, to inspire his team-mates at the finals.

The experienced veteran is his country's sixth highest all-time goalscorer and netted three times during their qualifying campaign, all of them important ones against Senegal and Zambia. Saïfi currently plies his trade at Qatari club Al Khor.

Coach: Rabah Saadane

Rabah Saadane is currently in his fifth spell as Algeria boss and led the Desert Foxes to the 1986 World Cup - their only previous appearance at the showpiece.