Tragedy stuck during what was supposed to be a time of joy in Algeria.
After the Algerian national soccer team claimed a spot in the World Cup knockout stage for the first time ever, two fans were killed in the ensuing celebration in Algiers, according to The Associated Press.
Fans who had been watching Algeria’s 1-1 tie with Russia on large, public television screens in Algiers celebrated in the streets by shooting off fireworks. According to The AP, “as soon as the final whistle blew, the massive crowd outside the iconic colonial-era post office in Algiers erupted into cheers and fireworks until the air was blanketed in smoke.”
The celebration continued into the early hours of Friday morning, with some people driving cars at wild speeds through the city. Two men were killed in accidents due to the reckless driving, and 31 others were reported wounded. This comes a week after five died as a result of car crashes during celebrations after Algeria defeated South Korea in Brazil.
In the midst of the chaos, Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika made a statement about the team’s strong performance.
“It is with great pride that warms our heart and the hearts of all Algerians as well as our supporters in the Arab, Muslim and African world, that we welcome your qualification to the second round,” Bouteflika said in the statement.
Algeria will play Germany in the knockout stage on Monday.
Photo via Twitter/@AFP