Monday, November 29, 1999

Film buffs Algeria plan disaster scene for England

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With their clash against England looming on Friday, under-dogs Algeria have watched the film "Battle of Algiers", a graphic account of Algeria's bloody struggle for independence from French colonial rule."I had never seen it before. It was very moving, and it was very moving to spend the time together. This is the kind of thing we need to do to feel together," 26-year-old midfielder Hassan Yebda told reporters.Players gathered to watch the film on Wednesday night.Algeria, who lost their Group C opening game 1-0 to Slovenia, felt the same determination to win as they had felt when they beat African champions Egypt in Sudan, a tense match which secured their World Cup qualification, Yebda said."When we were in Sudan we had an obsession to win and that is what enabled us to beat Egypt. Had we lost that match we would have been eliminated. The same goes for tomorrow. We must go on to the pitch with the same obsession to win."Asked about Algeria's strategy for playing England and whether the team would simply defend, Algeria coach Rabah Saadane said: "I don't think we will play like North Korea against Brazil or Switzerland against Spain."We will play differently because we have different human components ... you have to develop a team on the basis of the characteristics of the people involved."Both sides would be under pressure, Saadane said, adding it would be a fine spectacle.Algeria was granted independence from France in 1962. Thousands died in the brutal Algerian war for independence, a conflict that has left deep and still-unhealed scars in both countries. (Editing by Jon Bramley)
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