How they qualified
After a so-so South Africa 2010 and a poor 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Algeria missed very few beats on their way to Brazil 2014. They won five of their six group matches to easily top what might have been a tricky section over Mali, Benin and Rwanda. Once in the final play-off round, they were unlucky to draw one of the continents form teams in Burkina Faso, who shocked Africa by finishing second at the 2013 AFCON. In that tie, they lost the first leg 3-2 to a late penalty, but just claimed the place in Brazil with a professional 1-0 win at home that gave them the advantage on away goals.

FIFA World Cup finals history
Algeria have played in a total of three FIFA World Cup finals. They got off to the best possible start at the 1982 edition in Spain, beating West Germany 2-1 in their opening game. Despite a 3-2 victory over Chile in their final group game, an earlier 2-0 loss to Austria meant that while level on points with the latter, they were eliminated on goal difference. Mexico 1986 was less memorable for the north African side. Drawn in Group D with Brazil, Spain and Northern Ireland, two defeats and a draw left them bottom of the table and on the first flight home. Nor were things much better at South Africa 2010. Pitted against England, USA and Slovenia, they lost twice and drew their other fixture, departing the competition without a goal to their name.

The key players
Madjid Bougherra is a key figure at the back, and he scored the all-important winner in the second leg against Burkina Faso. Sofiane Feghouli is an exciting attacking midfielder, while Medhi Lacen holds things down in front of the defence. Islam Slimani emerged as the most prolific option in attack during qualifying.

Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Spain 1982, Mexico 1986, South Africa 2010 (Group stages)
Former stars: Lakhdar Belloumi, Rachid Mekhloufi, Mustapha Zitouni