Soccer-Algeria coach praises fighting spirit of his players


By Keith Weir

CURITIBA, Brazil, June 26 (Reuters) - Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic heaped praise on the competitive spirit of his Algerian side as they broke new ground on Thursday and qualified for the second round of the World Cup.

"I love it as a coach to see my team fighting like this," he said after Thursday's battling 1-1 draw which ensured the north Africans finish second in Group H behind Belgium.

"We'll get better. Maybe in the next round against Germany," he said of their next match in the second round in Porto Alegre on Monday.

"They are a huge team. It's going to be very complicated for us. We are small Algeria against big Germany. I hope the Brazilians (supporters) will get behind us. I know the Brazilians like technical football and we can do that. We can satisfy you even if we are not at the level of Brazil."

Progress past the first round at the fourth attempt for Algeria presented a new and positive image of Algerian football.

"We have got a lot of support from the Arab world, from countries in the former Yugoslavia, even in Brazil, People love our skills and our strength. I can only be proud of the way the team played," Halilhodzic said.

"But let's not go too far ahead of ourselves. There are many better teams than us," added the Franco-Bosnian coach.

But despite his obvious delight, Halilhodzic managed to keep up his penchant for testy encounters with reporters, refusing to answer questions about how the Algerian players will approach the upcoming Ramadan fast nor about his own future with the team. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Salvador; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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