World Cup 2018 Team Preview: Egypt
Hector Cuper's men have been placed in group A together with the hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia
Mohammed Salah, Egypt. Photo/Courtesy
The last time the Egyptian National Team participated in any World Cup was back in 1990. It is not entirely clear whether this is an advantage for the Pharaohs since they have no familiarity with other teams. However, it is fair to say that they have quite a talented team, that plays back home with very few familiar faces in their ranks in European top leagues.
Hector Cuper's men have been placed in group A together with the hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia for the largest sporting event, that is taking place in Russia from June 14, 2018. There is no reason to think there is a minnow in this group, even though Saudi Arabia and Egypt look like obvious underdogs.
This year, Egypt will feature a few familiar faces especially from the English Premier League led by their star player Mohammed Salah (Liverpool), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom) and Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City). The rest who will be joining them are the homebred players who are known by their speed and tact which most European league-based players may find a little difficult to handle.
Hector Cuper has led this very team to an African Cup of Nations final and a World Cup qualification in nothing less than a convincing manner, trouncing African giants Ghana, Congo and Cranes of Uganda. His conservative, defensive and counter-attacking style of play has surely reaped results at that level. However, whether he reaps the same results in Russia is something that we will wait, watch and see.
Players to watch in the Egypt National Team During the World Cup
Mohammed Salah crowned his premier league dominance on the score sheet with the Golden boot ahead of his close rival Harry Kane. He banged the net a record 32 times in the single 38-game Premier League season where he appeared 36 times. He went on to help Liverpool book a ticket to Kyiv where they will play out Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Final.
There is also no doubt that Salah guided his home team, Egypt, to this year's World Cup in Russia. To cut the long story short, Salah is, without doubt, one of the most inform strikers going into the tournament. Egypt is definitely going to be a force in the tournament if Salah continues with this streak of form. He is Elite and it is his time to dine with the Elite. A number of pundits have bet on him to contend for the Balon d'Or and as things look at the moment, the Champions League and the World Cup might just have come at the right moment. Let us wait and see the making of a king.
At 45, the Egyptian shot-stopper, Essam Al-Hadary is most likely going to be the oldest player in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the history of the tournament. He will overtake Faryd Mondragon who holds the record of being the oldest footballer to play in the World Cup.
This veteran shot-stopper has appeared 25 times for his club this season making 292 saves and 6 clean sheets between the sticks. He has won the African Cup of Nations 4 times, which is more than any other goalkeeper in the history of the tournament. He will be appearing for the first time and obviously the last time in the World Cup thus he will be putting in an excellent performance.
This young talent reminds many of Mohamed Aboutrika, that compelling striker with intimidating physical presence and speed. We could give someone else this space but the promising talent that has been shown by 21-year-old Ramadan Sobhi is exceptional. He has shown his brilliance at Stoke City. His dribbling, passing and finishing ability has had fans getting thrilled at his prospects. He is definitely a man to watch in the 2018 World Cup.
Egypt National Team World Group A Fixtures
Friday, June 15 - Egypt vs Uruguay, 1 pm, Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg.
Tuesday, June 19 - Russia vs Egypt, 7 pm, Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Monday, June 25 - Saudi Arabia vs Egypt, 3 pm, Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
Egypt National Team 29-man provisional squad released on 14th April
Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly), Mohamed Awad (Ismaily).
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Saad Samir (Al Ahly), Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy “El Wensh” (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel Shafy (Al Fath), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (West Brom), Ahmed El Mohamady (Aston Villa), Karim Hafez (RC Lens), Omar Gaber (LAFC), Amro Tarek (Orlando City).
Midfielders: Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (Zamalek), Shikabala (Al Raed), Abdallah El-Said (KuPS), Sam Morsy (Wigan), Mohamed ElNeny (Arsenal), Mahmoud “Kahraba” (Ittihad), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud “Trezeguet” (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos).
Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Ahmed Gomaa (Al Masry) Ahmed Hassan “Koka” (SC Braga), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)