Egypt FIFA World Cup: The Egypt national football team, known as “The Pharaohs” represents Egypt in men’s international football and is governed by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA). The team is part of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Union of North African Federations (UNAF). As of June 2024, they are ranked 36th in the FIFA rankings, with their highest ranking being 9th in 2010 and their lowest 75th in 2013.

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Hossam Hassan serves as the head coach, and Mohamed Salah is the team captain. The player with the most international caps is Ahmed Hassan, with 184 appearances, while Hossam Hassan is the top scorer with 68 goals. The team plays its home games at Misr Stadium and uses the FIFA code EGY.

Egypt’s international debut occurred on August 28, 1920, with a 2–1 loss to Italy in Ghent, Belgium. Their most significant victory was a 15–0 win against Laos in Jakarta, Indonesia, on November 15, 1963. Conversely, their heaviest defeat was an 11–3 loss to Italy in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on June 9, 1928.

Egypt’s Football Pioneers: A Legacy of World Cup Participation and AFCON Dominance

Egypt holds the distinction of being Africa’s oldest national football team and was the first African and Middle Eastern team to compete in the World Cup. Former goalkeeper Essam El Hadary set a record as the oldest player to participate in a World Cup match. Moreover, Egypt’s youth team won the bronze medal at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina, showcasing the country’s football talent on the international stage.

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The Pharaohs have appeared in three FIFA World Cups and are the most successful team in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), winning the tournament seven times, with their most recent victory in 2010.

In their second participation in the AFCON in 1959, Egypt clinched the championship again. The tournament featured only three teams: Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, with Egypt emerging undefeated. They lost their first AFCON final in 1962.

In their fourth appearance in 1963 in Ghana, Egypt was placed in Group B with Sudan and Nigeria. They defeated Nigeria 6–3 but drew 2–2 against Sudan. Despite being undefeated in the group stage, they ranked second behind Sudan by goal difference. Egypt, as runners-up in Group B, played in the third-place match against Ethiopia, winning 3–0.

Egypt’s Football Legacy: World Cup Qualifications and Africa Cup of Nations Triumphs

For the 1965 Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt qualified but withdrew due to diplomatic issues with the host country, Tunisia. They also withdrew from the 1968 tournament.

Historical Highlights

  • 1920: First African team to compete in the Summer Olympics.
  • 1957: Won their first Africa Cup of Nations.
  • 1959: Won their second Africa Cup of Nations.
  • 1962: Reached the AFCON final.
  • 1963: Secured third place in AFCON.
  • 1958-1961: Competed as the United Arab Republic but records attributed to Egypt.

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In 1972, Egypt failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, being eliminated by Morocco with an aggregate score of 5–3. However, Egypt made a strong return in 1974, hosting the tournament and finishing in third place. In the 1976 tournament held in Ethiopia, Egypt was in Group A with the hosts, Guinea, and Uganda.

Egypt has qualified for the FIFA World Cup three times: in 1934, 1990, and 2018. They were the first African country to qualify for the World Cup, defeating Mandatory Palestine. In the 1934 World Cup, Egypt lost 4–2 to Hungary in their only match, with forward Abdulrahman Fawzi scoring both goals for Egypt.

Egypt’s FIFA World Cup Journey: Historical Highlights and Challenges

Egypt withdrew from the 1938 World Cup qualifiers and did not enter the 1950 qualification. In the 1954 qualifiers, they faced Italy but did not qualify. Egypt also withdrew from the 1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970 World Cup qualifiers. Starting from the 1974 qualifiers, Egypt regularly participated but failed to qualify until 1990.

In 1990, Egypt qualified after beating Algeria 1–0 in the playoffs. Drawn in Group F with Ireland, England, and the Netherlands, Egypt scored only one goal in the tournament. They earned their first World Cup point with a 1–1 draw against the Netherlands, followed by a draw with Ireland and a 1–0 loss to England.

On October 8, 2017, Egypt qualified for the 2018 World Cup by topping Group E over Uganda, Ghana, and Congo. In the 2018 World Cup, Egypt was grouped with Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, and hosts Russia. They lost their opening match against Uruguay 1–0 without star player Mohamed Salah, who was injured. Goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy was voted man of the match but refused the award due to its sponsorship by Budweiser.

Following the 2018 World Cup, head coach Hector Cuper was criticize for his defensive tactics and was subsequently sacke. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) also faced criticism for choosing a team base in Chechnya, far from where Egypt’s matches were play, and for their overall management of the team.

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