Nabil's thrill in Brazil!
28 June 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Nabil Bentaleb has spoken of his pride at helping Algeria reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time ever.
Our young midfielder has been ever-present for the African side in the tournament finals so far, playing 90 minutes in their games against Belgium, South Korea and Russia as they qualified for the last 16 as runners-up in Group H.
Things could have been a lot different after Aleksandr Kokorin put Russia 1-0 in front in their final group stage outing on Thursday – a scoreline which, had it stayed the same, would have taken Fabio Capello’s men through along with group winners Belgium.
But a second half equaliser from Islam Slimani secured a point, taking Algeria’s overall tally to four, and booked them a round of 16 date with Germany on Monday.
“I was really confident – even at half-time when we were 1-0 down, we knew that if we didn't concede a goal we were going to score one,” said Nabil, who only had three senior international caps to his name before the start of the tournament.
“Back before the first game, when I first found out I was starting I was so excited. I was looking forward to seeing what it feels like when you run out on the pitch. I was not disappointed – it's just amazing!
“It means a lot to me that we made Algerian football go a step further and I'm proud to say I'm part of it.”