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President wants Algeria to retain coach

ALGIERS, Algeria -- Algeria's president has led calls to keep Vahid Halilhodzic as coach of the national team after he guided it to the country's first ever spot in the second round of the World Cup.

The Bosnian coach, whose contract has now expired, won popular support across Algeria when he was moved to tears after his team lost 2-1 to Germany in Brazil on Monday.

"Vahid needs to stay with us. It's a great team we've got," President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on Wednesday evening in a meeting at which Halilhodzic was present, Algeria's government-run news agency APS reported.

Halilhodzic smiled, before answering: "It was not always easy but we must continue this momentum... we have become the darlings of the Brazilians."

Frenchman Christian Gourcuff was tipped to replace Halilhodzic after the tournament.

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