Soccer has been causing trouble between Egypt and Algeria! Teams of the two countries played each other twice this month to decide who would get to play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer games next year in South Africa. These matches have caused a lot of problems between the two!
The World Cup Soccer games are held once every four years, and are one of the world’s most awaited events. For next year’s games, 204 countries wanted to participate, but only 32 countries will get to play. These 32 were chosen by letting the 204 countries play “qualifying” games – it took two years for these matches to be played! The qualifying matches finished on November 18, and the 32 teams have now been selected.
Egypt and Algeria are big soccer rivals. Earlier in November, the Algerian team went to Cairo, the capital of Egypt, for their match against Egypt. Unfortunately, some Algerian players were hurt when their bus was attacked with stones. Egypt won the match but did not score enough goals to qualify. A second game was held in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. This time, Algeria won the game and will now play in the World Cup. But fighting broke out between the Algerian and Egyptian fans, and since then, citizens of each country have been attacked in both countries. Egypt even called back its ambassador to Algeria. Libya, the country that lies between Algeria and Egypt, has now stepped in to try and help resolve the issues between the two.
Algeria and Egypt have a lot of similarities. They are both in Africa, and border the Mediterranean Sea and Libya. A large part of both countries is a desert. Most people in both countries speak Arabic and practice the religion of Islam.