Les Verts have appeared at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament just once before, in 1980, which kicked off a golden decade for Algerian football that saw them reach their first FIFA World Cup™ in 1982, swiftly followed by their second four years later. That 1980 side emerged from a group that included Spain and Germany DR but were eventually defeated by a Yugoslavia team who narrowly missed out on a bronze medal. The experience proved invaluable for much of the Algerian squad, with the majority of those who travelled to Moscow playing some part in their subsequent World Cup campaigns.
Algeria entered qualification for the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations at the final play-off stage, where they saw off Sierra Leone 2-0 on aggregate, Abdelhakim Amokrane scoring both goals in the ‘home’ leg, despite both matches being played in Bilda due to the Ebola epidemic. That saw the Fennec Foxes into the final tournament, where they finished top of Group B, thanks to a victory against Mali and draws against Egypt and Nigeria. Their 2-0 semi-final win against South Africa confirmed their place in Rio, even though they they were edged 2-1 in the final of the tournament by Nigeria.
Lakhdar Belloumi, Rabah Madjer, Chaabane Merzekane (all 1980).
11 - Out of the 17 players who travelled to Moscow for the 1980 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament, 11 were included in the 1982 or 1986 World Cup squads.