By RYAN TOLMICH
Needing a draw and trailing a goal, Algeria was going to have to earn its place in the tournament’s next stage.
That is exactly what the Algerians did, as Islam Slimani’s 60th-minute equalizer earned the Desert Foxes a 1-1 draw with Russia and, more importantly, a spot in the tournament’s Round of 16.
Algeria had its back against the wall from the beginning. It took just six minutes for Russia to open the scoring by way of Aleksandr Kokorin. The 23-year-old smashed home a textbook header off a Dmitriy Kombarov cross to give the Russian’s the 1-0 lead and the advantage in the standings.
The Russians continued to sit on their lead until the game’s 60th minute, when Slimani headed Algeria back into the lead. Algeria midfielder Yacine Brahim played a dangerous cross from a free kick, and Slimani converted to give the Algerians all they would need to advance.
From there, Algeria was content to protect its hard earned draw by spending the game’s waning moments in a defensive shell to waste time. Even unused substitute Liassine Cadamuro found his way into the referee’s book for time-wasting.
Algeria will now turn toward the tournament’s knockout round, where it will face its toughest task on Monday in Porto Alegre. The Desert Foxes will now be tasked with taming championship contenders Germany, which emerged on top of group G with seven points.