Algeria coach Rabah Saadane says his Desert Foxes are moving in the right direction even though they crashed out of the FIFA World Cup™ without scoring in three matches. Their exit from the tournament came Wednesday in a 1-0 loss to the United States that killed their slim hopes of advancing and gave the Americans top spot in Group C.
"I don't think we should hang our heads in shame," Saadane said. "In the three matches we played, our players gave their very best. The national team will have a positive future if we continue down this road."
A goalless draw with England proved the high point for Algeria, who also lost 1-0 to Slovenia, but Saadane took the results in his stride. "This is the first time in 24 years we have been at a World Cup," he said. "You shouldn't expect miracles."
But, he admitted, supporters probably should expect goals. "We could have done better," Saadane said. "We shot from distance a great deal. We had a great number of goal-scoring opportunities. We should have done better."
The coach blamed the goal drought on pressure upon his top strikers. "They missed a number of opportunities because of the pressure that was on them," Saadane said. "We need to find those rare birds that will be top strikers. We need to find players who can persevere on this stage."
Saadane said he already has some new forwards in mind to begin the team's quest for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but whether or not he will be in charge is another unknown. "I think there are many people who would like me to go," he said. "Let's see what the president of the federation says once he reviews my work."
Algeria's exit and the near-impossible goal-difference faced by Côte d’Ivoire leaves Ghana as the top African side at this FIFA World Cup just like in 2006 when they were the only African team to reach the last 16. But Saadane says African teams are on the proper path despite the lack of success on African soil this time.
"Africa is on the right road," Saadane said. "Particularly individual potential is rising. What we need in our national teams is discipline and stability. I think in five years the Africans will be among the best teams in the world."