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November 18, 2009 11:30 AM

Algeria vs. Egypt Puts Crazy Dangerous Soccer on Center Stage

In less than an hour, Algeria and Egypt will play a one-game playoff in Sudan to determine the final African qualifier for the 2010 World Cup, and no matter what the result, rioting will ensue.

The two sides already have a history of violence between them:

Animosity can be traced to 1989, when Egypt eliminated Algeria in a World Cup qualifier. After that match, an Algerian player gouged out an eye of an Egyptian physician with a broken bottle.
This year, the two sides ended tied in Africa's Group C, after Egypt beat Algeria 2-0 in Cairo on Saturday to force this one-game playoff. There has already been a fair share of violence in the past five days. Some examples:


Fans of Egypt's "Pharaohs" threw rocks at the Algerian team bus as it left Cairo airport, injuring three players. After the Nov. 14 game, 20 Algerians and 12 Egyptians were hurt in skirmishes.

The last game was followed by riots Nov. 16 in Algiers, where offices of Egypt Air and Orascom Telecom Holding SAE were ransacked by irate mobs.
If you thought for some reason things might die down for today's match, you're wrong. The taunting between the two sides has been almost a fierce as the attacks.

Political taunting has marked the rivalry in cyberspace this week. The Algerians chide Egypt for having made peace with Israel while the Egyptians heap scorn on Algerians for killing each other during their 1992-2000 civil war.
Wow. 15,000 police will be patrolling today's game to keep the sides apart. I hope that's enough. If you care to watch this game and be glad you are thousands upon thousands of miles away from the stadium, you can find live video from FIFA.

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