The Egypt national football team is the second from the African continent which secured a berth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 28 years later, the Pharaohs come back to the largest tournament of national teams, the Russian performance will become the third participation of the Egyptians in the World Cup.
For the first time, the Egypt national football team participated in the World Cup 1934. The Pharaohs became the first from Africa who took part in the FIFA World Cup. It is difficult to call the performance of the Egyptians successful — the team left the tournament after the first round when lost to the strong team of Hungary. Two goals in that game were scored by Egyptian Abdel Fawzi.
Who would have thought that next time the Egyptians would be able to break through to the tournament only 52 years later. For many years only 1 or 2 representatives of Africa could compete in the World Cup, and Egypt, over and over again, conceded in qualification. At last, in 1990, Egypt became a qualifier and then got into the same group with the England, Ireland and the Netherlands national football teams. In the first two rounds, the Pharaohs could collect two points, having drawn with the Ireland and the Netherlands national football teams. Even a draw in the last round would bring the Egyptians into the play-offs, but, unfortunately, in the match against England they didn’t manage to score points and were defeated with minimum score 0:1.
And now, the third for Egypt World Cup is coming. The Pharaohs started their way to Russia in the second round where in play-offs they had to play with the Chad national football team. The Egyptian fans had to feel nervous when in the first match Chad won with score 1:0. But in the return match everything fell into place — Egypt beat the opponents 4:0 and surely got through to the third qualification. In the third round the Ghana, Uganda and Congo national football teams became the group opponents of the Pharaohs. The Ghana national team, which participated in three last World Cups and reached the quarterfinal in one of them, was expected to be the key opponent of the Egyptians. However, the Ghanaians were very weak at the beginning of the tournament and collected only two points for the first three matches. The Egypt which won four of five matches used the situation and secured the first position in the group ahead of schedule which granted the right to be a qualifier for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. In the decisive home match the Egyptians beat the Congo national football team thanks to Mohamed Salah’s double.
Twice the Egypt national football team took part in the Confederations Cup as the African Cup of Nations Winner, but both times the Egyptians couldn’t leave the group. Much more successfully the Pharaohs played in the African Cup of Nations, where Egypt is the most titled national team. The Egypt national football team won the African Cup of Nations seven times, which is Africa record.
The Pharaohs won their first two victories in the African Cup of Nations in the first tournaments in 1957 and 1959 where only three teams took part. Step-by-step, with increase in number of participating teams, the Egyptians lost their status of favorite, and sometimes they could not become a qualifier at all. The Egyptians managed to win their third victory only in 1986 in the home tournament. Next time the Pharaohs managed to win the African Cup of Nations in 1998, and in 2006-2010 the Egyptians three times in a row won the tournament and set a record in number of victories. Surprisingly, but being the strongest national team on the continent, the Egyptians could never break through into the World Cup. These years the national team is starred with such football players as Ahmed Hassan, Hosny Abd Rabo and Mohamed Zidan. Ahmed Hassan is the record-holder in the Egypt national football team, he played for it 184 matches.
Today, the Egypt national football team is a quite fighting team. The leader is the high-speed forward of Liverpool Mohamed Salah. Another known figure is the midfielder of Arsenal Mohamed Elneny. Most of players represent the local championship which is the strongest on the African continent. The Head Coach of Egypt Hector Cuper attracts attention. The Argentina expert became famous in the early 2000s, when twice in a row he brought his Valencia into the final of the Champions League. After that, for a few years, Cuper unsuccessfully worked for Milan Inter, then he worked only with clubs and national teams of the second or third echelon. The performance with Egypt in the World Cup is going to become an excellent chance for the eminent mentor to show his talent and to return to the circle of the world top coaches.