Manager: Rabah Saadane
Best: Round one (1986, 1982)
Les Fennecs (the Desert Foxes) have spent a long time in the footballing wilderness following their last World Cup 24 years ago. They qualified by besting African champions Egypt in a tough showdown that had to be held in the Sudan capital Khartoum to avoid rioting by either set of fans. Algeria plays in the style of a European side and it's no surprise that their best players Nadir Belhadj and Mourad Meghni play in Europe for Portsmouth and Lazio respectively. But the Foxes have been dealt a cruel blow with Meghni recently ruled out of the tournament after failing to recover from a long-term knee injury. And nearly as damaging is the fact that, despite bring the only one of the five African sides taking part this summer that fields a top-class goalkeeper in Faouzi Chaouchi, he's banned from the opening two matches due to the red card received in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Egypt. By the time he's back, Algeria could easily have been eliminated.
Player to watch:Not just a national hero for sending Algeria through to the World Cup at the expense of bitter rivals Egypt, Antar Yahia is a no-nonsense defender who will relish tackling the likes of Rooney.