World Cup Class of 2018: Egypt


Population:  97.05 million

Capital:  Cairo

Team Colors:  Red, White and Black

How Qualified:  1st in CAF Group E

Nickname:  The Pharoahs

3rd World Cup

Head Coach: Hector Cuper (ARG)

Key Players:  Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion)

Best Performance:  Group Stage (1934, 1990)

Can Mohamed Salah be as brilliant for the Egyptian National team as he’s been for Liverpool Football club?  Egyptian soccer fans certainly hope so, as Egypt makes its return to the World Cup Group stages for the first time in 28 years.  After narrowly missing the tournament in heartbreaking fashion in 2010 (a playoff game loss to Algeria) and 2014 (a playoff game loss to Ghana), the Pharoahs are poised to make noise in Russia.

After early victories over Congo and rivals, Ghana, Egypt rushed to to the top of Group E in CAF World Cup qualifying but their place in the World Cup wasn’t ultimately decided until Mohamed Salah’s 95th minute penalty kick in the penultimate qualifier.  I don’t believe there can be a discussion of Egyptian National Sports without an allusion to the political strife of the fall of Hosni Mubarak and the Arab Spring, but for one night, after one victory in Alexandria, there was unity in a fractured nation.

Egypt’s next two friendlies after qualification took place in Zurich against Portugal and Greece.  With a 56th minute goal from Salah, Egypt pushed Portugal and led the European Champions into extra time but two goals from one of the best players in the world gave Portugal the victory.  Against Greece, with Salah sitting, the Egyptians struggled to a listless 1-0 loss.

The key player to watch for Egypt will no doubt be Mo Salah.   While Salah won’t have the talent of Liverpool attackers playing along side him, if his run through World Cup qualifications is any indicator where he led Egypt’s World Cup Qualification group with 5 goals, he will still be a handful for any side to deal with.

The other key players to pay attention to are two West Bromwich Albion defenders, Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr, and how well they are able to steady Egypt’s backline.  Egyptian manager, Hector Cuper, prefers a relatively conservative gameplan of absorbing pressure and a lot will depend on how well these two club teammates can maintain the Egyptian defense.

Egypt’s World Cup group, Group A, is a very manageable group for the Pharoahs to deal with.  They open with a difficult matchup against a talented Uruguayan team that may be a tough task to go up against.  They follow with fixtures against the two lowest ranked teams in the World Cup draw against Russia and Saudi Arabia. Their key game in the opening round will be against host, Russia.  If they can beat Russia in St. Petersburg, they should be able to put away Saudi Arabia and make it to the Round of 16 and be a difficult out for any team in the field.


June 15:  vs. Uruguay in Yekaterinburg (8AM ET on FS1/Telemundo)

June 19:  vs. Russia in St. Petersburg (2PM ET on Fox/Telemundo)

June 25:  vs. Saudi Arabia in Volgograd (10AM ET on FS1/NBC Universo)


Nothing Found

Apologies, but no results were found for the requested archive. Perhaps searching will help find a related post.


About Author

based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

Comments are closed.