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Algeria's heroes back home

Friday, July 04, 2014

ALGIERS - Algeria's World Cup team returned home to a hero's welcome on Wednesday after their historic progress to the knockout stages was ended by Germany in extra-time.

As they got off the plane, the Desert Foxes were met by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who embraced the team's Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic. Algerian social media is abuzz with demands that he stay on amidst rumours of his departure.

"Allahu akbar, Halilhodzic," shouted fans at Algiers airport as the team emerged, a chant repeated later on the streets of the capital.

The squad boarded a bus painted green and white, with each player's name daubed in red, the three colours of the national flag, and toured the capital.

Thousands of supporters cheered them on, despite the blistering heat and the obligatory daytime fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

State television broadcast a special program dedicated to the team entitled "Thank You Heroes."

The only Arab country represented at the World Cup, Algeria lost their last-16 game 2-1 with all the goals at Porto Alegre's Beira-Rio Stadium coming in extra-time.

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