Algeria learning the hard way
© AFP

Algeria are still learning how to compete at the top level of international football and their Group C clash with England next Friday will be another part of that process, says Algerian coach Rabah Saadane.

The 64-year-old, who is in his fifth spell in charge of the Desert Foxes, admitted his side were very much the underdogs in their group, a fact borne out by their opening 1-0 defeat by Slovenia on Sunday.

"It will be very difficult (to qualify)," said Saadane. "We are the minnows in the group ... we will learn things when we play against England, we will see what we are capable of, what is our level, and this is the lesson for the World Cup for Algeria.

We did not deserve this result, but that is football.
Rabah Saadane, Algeria coach

"It is imperative to recuperate from this match and to prepare for an even more difficult match against the best team in the group. I think that, save injuries and tiredness, we will start with the same team. But the tactics will probably change."

Saadane was disappointed his side had failed to get even a point from a game they would have expected at the very least to draw, though they were not helped by the dismissal of substitute striker Abdelkader Ghezzal 18 minutes from time. Saadane was, however, pleased with the overall display in Algeria's first match at the finals since 1986.

"We did not deserve this result, but that is football," he said. "I congratulate my team, I am very happy with the behaviour of the players in this match. We were well-organised, we knew how to retain the ball, and especially good in the first half and for most of the second period, though fatigue did start to set in.

"I have said on several occasions, and I repeat, that it is a body of work that needs time. We are, as it were, in an apprenticeship."