Algerians celebrate South African ticket | other | Hindustan Times
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Algerians celebrate South African ticket

other Updated: Nov 19, 2009 23:56 IST

Algerians burst onto streets in celebration after the national team earned its first World Cup berth since 1986 with a 1-0 victory over bitter rivals Egypt on Wednesday. The Algerian flag was brandished by women in hijab, a rare sight in this North African nation, as fans set off fireworks and traffic came to a standstill in the center of Algiers.

Algeria will appear in only its third World Cup, after reaching football's showcase finals in 1982 and 1986.

The one-off playoff in neutral Khartoum, Sudan was necessary after Algeria and Egypt were tied atop Group C in African qualifying.

It was sweet revenge for the Algerians, who were eliminated in 1989 when Egypt won 1-0 at home in a make-or-break qualifying game that propelled it to the 1990 World Cup.

Algeria's celebrations were in marked contrast to Saturday, when Egypt won 2-0 in Cairo to force the playoff. Before that match, three Algerian players received facial cuts when Egyptian fans pelted Algeria's team bus with rocks. After the defeat, the Egyptian Embassy and high-profile Egyptian businesses in Algiers were attacked.

Security was stepped up on Wednesday near the embassy but there were no signs of violence. The jubilant atmosphere crossed the Mediterranean to Marseille and Paris, where there are large Algerian populations. Youths hanging from cars, honking horns and brandishing the Algerian flag made victory laps down Paris' Champs-Elysees.