The selection of the 2018 world Cup: the Egyptian force and suffering the eagles are

Mohamed Salah. Photo: Reuters

In Africa, we identified two participants of the final tournament of the 2018 world Cup out of five.


National Egipto reached the final of the world Cup for the first time since 1990! When it issued the permit maximally dramatic fashion. It was something to see! The last minutes of the match Egypt – Congo turned out just fantastically emotional.

For a short period the entire country had plunged into darkness and then explode with delight. Even to an outside observer it was hard not to crawl, looking through the screen, like a huge arena in Alexandria boils after Salah winning goal from the penalty spot in the 95th minute. What can we say about those who watched the game live.

The Egyptians qualified to the world Cup for the third time in history. The first was, terrible to say, in 1934. And compared to today’s format to call it a full-fledged part of the language is not rotated. 83 years ago, Egypt was the only (!) a team from Africa in the qualifying tournament. And went to the championship in Italy, defeating the sum of the two matches, the only team from Asia – Palestine. But Italy played just one game, losing to Hungary in the 1/8 finals (no groups then was not).

The second time the “pharaohs” had to wait more than half a century – to the global forum 1990. The last, incidentally, also in Italy. Although the Egyptians ranked last in the Quartet, but performed very well, having drawn with the Netherlands, Ireland and losing to England 0:1.

And now, after 27 years, seven-time Champions of Africa was in the final tournament of the world championship. On the one hand, the term is twice smaller than between the first two tournaments. On the other, all these years, could only marvel at as a team, regularly winning the European championship, manages to fail the selection for selection. Egypt took the gold Cup in Africa in ‘ 98, 2006, 2008, 2010, and on the world Cup instead got, Angola, Algeria…

When on 88 minutes, a Congolese Beech equalized, I thought that to remove the curse again will fail. Scenario loomed painfully humiliating: in the last round, Egypt will lose away embittered the national team of Ghana and first place in the group, and with it a ticket float away… Uganda.

86 thousand spectators in the arena Borg El Arab (Egyptian army stadium) was quiet. They filled the bleachers to capacity, when before the start of the match was still two hours. This contributed to increased security measures: the launch of the audience were discontinued long before the starting whistle to avoid the crush. Authorities were afraid of trouble, after all, still fresh memories of the bloody slaughter at the stadium in Port said in 2012 that killed more than 70 people, and in Cairo in 2015 (28 victims).

By the way, matches with Ghana and Uganda, held in this same arena, the number of seats was limited to 70 thousand. Now free seats left. Had it not been the winning shot of Salah, the consequences could be terrible. Including on the streets – instead of celebrations there at least would have been without the riots. But nothing happened…

One of the heroes of Egypt was the referee from the Gambia Gassama. The one that messed up in the summer in the confederations Cup match Mexico – New Zealand, when I watched the replay, but the mass brawl of players never saw. This time his decision to appoint 11-metre has not caused issues. Moreover, it may have saved someone’s life.

And it brought to life the dream of Egyptians goalkeeper Essam El-hadary. Note: in January, he turns 45 years old! And if he plays in Russia (he should play), it will be the oldest participant of the final tournament in history. The current record holder is Colombian Mondragon – spoke three years ago in Brazil at the age of 43 years.

El hadary made his debut for the national team back in ‘ 96-m. He won everything possible with Cairo “al-Ahli”. And all four of the victory of Egypt at the African Cup of Nations, mentioned above, happened with his participation. After the final whistle he traditionally climbed on the bar and burst into tears of happiness.

The goalkeeper-the veteran is nice, but the real star of the current Egyptian national team only one striker, Muhammad’s Salah, who joined in the summer from as Roma to Liverpool for 42 million euros. Without it, the “pharaohs” would definitely did not Shine. Suffice it to say that today Salah with five goals – top scorer of the entire qualifying tournament.

After the match, the nimble striker, who recently tried to break Rebrov and Selikhova on the “Open Arena”, via Twitter congratulated Didier Drogba. “I am proud of my brother! You’ve become a real leader of the nation. It reminded me of the côte d’ivoire-2006,” wrote the legendary Ivorian. 11 years ago, his “elephants” was first played at the world Cup.

“Pharaohs” has led to a success coach, which is great for them in spirit. After all, the 61-year-old Argentinean Ektor Cooper himself like a curse. In his collection lots of silver medals and gold almost there. He was making the Huracán the second in Argentina, brought Mallorca to the final of the Spanish Cup and Cup winners ‘ Cup, twice remained second with inter in Serie A, and led ARIS to the Greek Cup final. But first and foremost the majority of fans around the world, Cooper is associated with the beautiful Valencia beginning of “zero”, which twice lost the finals of the Champions League first, real Madrid and then Bayern.

Last winter, Cooper remained true to himself, losing in the finals of the African Cup of Nations with Egypt – Cameroon scored the winning goal in the 88th minute. However, he was given the chance, not fired. And no wonder, because now the curse of the pharaohs cut!

As you know, flights between Russia and Egypt is suspended. But next summer for one aircraft with an interesting team on Board will definitely make an exception.


In Africa, the long and convoluted qualifying tournament, and even favorites like Nigeria come into the fight sooner. The eagles are started in the final tournament in the fall of 2015, when the second qualifying round, defeated Swaziland in the two matches. This was followed by the draw, which surprised everybody. In one group were the winners of the Africa Cup of Nations 2012 and 2013, Zambia and Nigeria, as well as the future winner of this tournament, Cameroon is the best team of the continent at the time of the draw, Algeria. And a trip – one to four, without any joints!..

In June 2016 the entire football Nigeria was shocked. With a difference of four days he died two landmark for the whole country coach. 8-th day of a heart attack died Stephen Keshi – a man who made Nigeria the best in Africa in 2013. And June 12 became Shaibu Amodu is the only coach box Nigeria to the world Cup twice (in 2002 and 2010). Keshi at that time with the national team has not worked, and Amodu was the technical Director. Loss of both large-scale for the whole continent, because African coaches and so little.

Sunday Oliseh, Samson, Siasia, Salisu Yusuf and Gernot Rohr – all these people led the national team Nigeria in world Cup qualifiers. Not surprising, since Nigeria managed to miss the Africa Cup of Nations-2017 – officials tried to change something the coaching mess, but to no avail. But the German Rohr, the former player of “Bavaria”, a long time working in African countries, led “superglo” for the world Cup.

Although it could make the other person more famous. In July 2016, the Football Federation of Nigeria has reached a verbal agreement with Paul Le Guen, three led lion to victory in the championship of France. But the famous coach at the last moment refused, deciding that Nigeria supposedly horrible working conditions…

In October last year Nigeria national team right in the capital of the country Abuja was literally at gunpoint. It happened at the airport – the team returned from Zambia, where he won an important victory, but then she met strange people. The two men introduced themselves as officers of the police and was going to arrest the Vice-President of the football Federation of Nigeria, Shehu dikko.

One of them pulled out guns and said shoot at any who would disturb him. When men asked for a warrant to arrest one of the attackers opened fire at the ceiling. Fortunately, the criminals quickly neutralized, and the team was immediately evacuated from the airport building. No one was injured, although the delegation was famous people: John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi, Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa.

Philip PAPENKOV, Gosha CHERNOV, Sport-Express

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