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Egypt World Cup 2018 profile: Ones to watch, best bets and more

Last Updated June 14 2018, 22:04Football
All you need to know about Egypt ahead of the World Cup
All you need to know about Egypt ahead of the World Cup

All eyes will be on Mo Salah when Egypt play at the World Cup, but there is much more to know about one of Africa's most successful nations...

Egypt

Coach – Hector Cuper: The Argentinian coach was appointed manager of Egypt in 2015 and if his record is anything to go by, the African team may be in for a dream tournament. During his career Cuper has finished runner-up in the Copa del Rey, European Cup Winners Cup, Serie A and Champions League twice.

Legend – Essam El-Hadary: Mohamed Salah may well be occupying this section in years to come but he is yet to win an African Cup of Nations with Egypt. El-Hadary has won four and not only was the mercurial goalkeeper named in the team of the tournament three times, he did not concede a single goal across those three tournaments. He is the most decorated player in Egypt’s history and was once described by Didier Drogba as his “toughest opponent”.

Star Man – Mohamed Salah: The star player for The Pharaohs is the man dubbed the “Egyptian Messi”. Salah has had a phenomenal season for Liverpool, ending the campaign with the Golden Boot and the PFA Player of the Year award. Six goals has been enough to win the Golden Boot in nine of the last ten World Cups and realistically Salah could reach that total fairly quickly. Russia have not played a competitive game for two years, Uruguay conceded 20 goals in qualifying while Saudi Arabia conceded ten goals in ten games in the Asian qualifiers.

Did you know? In 1934, Egypt became the first African team to qualify for a World Cup.

Fun Fact: Mohamed Salah scored over 40% of Egypt’s goals in their qualifying campaign.

Qualifying: Egypt finished Group E winners with a game to spare to book their place in Russia.

Group E Fixtures: Uruguay (1pm, June 15, Ekaterinburg), Russia (7pm, June 19, St Petersburg), Saudi Arabia (3pm, June 25, Volgograd)

Egypt squad

Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly).

Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Saad Samir (Al Ahly), Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly), Mohamed AbdelShafy (Al Fath), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (West Brom), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Omar Gaber (LAFC), Mahmoud Hamdy El-Wensh (Zamalek).

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mahmoud Abdel-Razik Shikabala (Al Raed), Abdallah El-Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Mahmoud Kahraba (Ittihad), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud Trezeguet (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos).

Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).

Egypt profile

They have made just two World Cup finals appearances in 14 attempts, so Egypt will be looking forward to lining up at Russia 2018.

Four wins and a draw were enough to progress to the finals, where they will be alongside Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay in Group A.

Mo Salah (left) celebrates with Egypt team-mate Mahmoud Hassan
Mo Salah (left) celebrates with Egypt team-mate Mahmoud Hassan

Egypt have not been able to make it past the group stages, but they will be hopeful of doing so this time around in a group that is quite open between the four teams.

Hector Cuper is the man who has guided them to the tournament, and the 62-year-old has experience of success having won the Spanish Super Cup with Mallorca and Valencia.

Cuper has also been named UEFA Club Coach of the Year and European Coach of the Year previously, so could be capable of doing something good with the talent available to him.

Who to watch out for

It will come as no surprise here, but Mohamed Salah is the main man for Egypt and a lot of their hopes will be on the Liverpool forward.

Salah has enjoyed a remarkable season back in the Premier League and has found himself firmly in the running for the Ballon d’Or.

The 25-year-old has scored 43 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.

Elsewhere, English-born Wigan midfielder Sam Morsy is set to feature and he could be a big part of their side in the Sky Bet Championship next season.

Stoke's Ramadan Sobhi is another member of the squad, whilst Aston Villa’s Ahmed Elmohamady will also be in Russia.

How did they qualify?

Egypt had to go through two qualification rounds to reach Russia and nearly fell at the first hurdle.

They met Chad in the second round of the Confederation of African Football qualification and lost the first leg 1-0.

However, on home soil, Ahmed Hassan Mahgoub struck twice to help Egypt win 4-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.

In the third and final round, they were drawn in Group E alongside Uganda, Ghana and Congo, finishing four points clear of second to qualify.

They picked up 13 points from a possible 18. The 1-0 defeat away to Uganda being their only loss of the campaign.

Any interesting facts about Egypt?

Pharaoh Pepi II had the longest reign in history - 94 years. He became Egypt’s king when he was only six years old and ruled between 2246 and 2152 B.C.

The present-day climate sees an average of one inch of rain fall in Egypt every year, and the country is the 15th-most populated in the world.

The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert at over 3,630,000 square miles and is roughly the size of the United States, making it hard to believe that it was once lush grassland.

Egypt is also associated with the River Nile, which is the longest river in Africa as it stretches to 4,258 miles long.

Any famous football moments?

While they may not have featured at the World Cup as often as they would have liked, Egypt have secured Africa Cup of Nations success on seven different occasions, making them the most successful team in the continent.

Their greatest achievement probably comes back in July 2010, when the updated FIFA World Rankings put them in ninth place.

They were also the first side from an African country to feature at the World Cup when they played back in 1934.

Despite their lack of big-stage appearances, they are still considered one of the strongest African teams and the rise of Salah will only help to boost that.

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Page last updated at 1500 BST on 23/05/18

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