Egypt World Cup profile
FootieLive’s Egypt World Cup profile assesses the Pharaohs in detail ahead of their third finals.
Egyptian football is back on the map thanks to an Argentine coach and a Premier League star.
The Pharaohs first participated at the World Cup way back in 1934.
For all their continental success as seven-time Africa Cup of Nations winners, however, they haven’t graced this grand stage much.
Can these Pharaohs change all that in the land of Tsars? Our Egypt World Cup profile sheds more light on them.
How did they qualify?
The Egyptians benefited from Ghana flopping in African qualifying Group E by topping a pool that also contained Uganda and the Congo.
Previous World Cup record
Besides their appearance at the 1934 finals, the Pharaohs also qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
They are yet to get past the first round or group stage, so will it be third time lucky for Egypt?
As mentioned above, they have considerable pedigree in Africa as record seven-time Cup of Nations winners.
But for Cameroon, it would be eight continental crowns as the Pharaohs went down 2-1 to the Indomitable Lions in Gabon in February’s AFCON final.
FIFA World Ranking: 30
Egypt were rated among the top 10 footballing nations in the world at the start of 2010, despite failing to reach the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Only fellow North African country and fellow third seeds, Tunisia, had a higher ranking from their continent when the draw happened.
With World Cup finals pool rivals Uruguay just a dozen places above them, the Pharaohs should fancy their chances in Russia.
Manager: Hector Cuper
Former Valencia and Inter Milan boss Hector Cuper has arguably been very unlucky in his coaching career.
During two seasons at the Mestalla (1999-2001), he reached back-to-back Champions League finals.
Los Che lost to La Liga rivals Real Madrid and then agonizingly on penalties against Bayern Munich.
Cuper’s next club Inter Milan (2001-03) would go on to great things later in the decade.
He returned to Spain with Mallorca (1997-99 and 2004-06) thereafter and, following spells with Real Betis (2007) and another Italian team Parma (2008), got a first crack at international management with Georgia.
That was unsuccessful and during a difficult time for the former USSR satellite state, but Cuper continued to look east for work and had stints with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece, 2009-11), Orduspor (Turkey, 2011-13) and Al Wasl (UAE/Dubai, 2013-14).
Egypt gave him another go coaching at international level in 2015 and his record is very good with just six defeats from over 30 games, including another beaten tournament final.
Key player: Mohamed Salah
Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah is the Pharaohs’ star turn.
When on the pitch, he was involved in all of the goals Egypt scored (five goals, two assists) en route to qualifying.
Salah has proved himself for clubs and country in recent years, so perhaps Chelsea feel a little hasty for letting him go so quickly.
Any loss at Stamford Bridge is a clear gain at Anfield, via Fiorentina and Roma, as at the time of writing Salah tops the Premier League scoring table.
He is already fifth on the Egyptians’ all-time top goals charts with 32 in 56 international caps.
There is such direct threat about his play that Salah is in danger of carrying an entire nation’s hopes on his shoulders at Russia.
Pharaohs teammates need to give him service and get him in-behind, so Salah odds of 13/8 with BetVictor to be Egypt’s top scorer at the World Cup should be snapped up.
Rising star: Ramadan Sobhi
If Salah is the big attraction, then fellow Premier League player Ramadan Sobhi is Egyptian football’s hope for the future.
The youngster has made just a handful of starts since signing for Stoke City, but is part of their long-term plans.
Learning from established attackers like Ibrahim Afellay, Eric Maxim Chopou-Mouting and Xherdan Shaqiri is key to his development.
Potters boss Mark Hughes has so much untapped potential in Sobhi and national coach Cuper sees it too.
Sobhi surpassed 20 caps before his 21st birthday, so he’s already had chances to develop.
Like Salah, the journey is just as important as the destination for this Pharaohs winger.
Cuper tends to follow tactical trends and most of his Egyptian sides have lined up 4-2-3-1.
It’s the en vogue formation that allows Salah on one flank and Sobhi on the other to express themselves.
Midfield is anchored by Arsenal holding player Mohamed Elneny.
West Bromwich Albion’s Ahmed Hegazi looks assured of a place in defence, meanwhile, in front of veteran goalie Essam El-Hadary.
The only tactical problem facing Egypt is getting both natural right backs in their XI.
Cuper has selected either Steve Bruce acolyte Ahmed Elmohamady or former Sheffield United player Ahmed Fahty, who were briefly teammates at Hull City.
Group and betting
Group A pits the Pharaohs against tournament hosts Russia, trans-Sinai neighbours Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
It’s a pretty open pool, so the 11/2 on offer with Paddy Power for Egypt to win it looks overpriced.
Bookmakers may overestimate home advantage for Russia.
BetVictor have a stage of elimination market on all World Cup finalists.
While the Pharaohs are odds-on (8/15) for a group stage exit, the 2/1 about losing in the last 16 appeals.
Winning the World Cup is a stretch for Egypt, with Paddy Power going 275/1 (from 250/1) following the draw.
More from Footie Live
Visit us regularly throughout the tournament build-up for more World Cup team profiles on the features page.
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