Pharaohs begin quest for World Cup return

Pharaohs begin quest for World Cup return
Mohamed Salah of Egypt

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 01, 2021. 15:00

Egypt will begin their quest for a second successive World Cup appearance when they host Angola in their opening 2022 Qualifying Group F match at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo on the evening of Thursday 2 September 2021, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.

Egypt, who have appeared at three previous World Cups (1934, 1990 and 2018), were last in action in March, claiming a 4-0 home win over Comoros to wrap up a successful Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

The big news heading into this clash for the Pharaohs is the fact that they will be without star man Mohamed Salah, as Liverpool refused to release the forward because of the compulsory requirement to self-isolate for 10 days after his return to British shores due to Egypt’s current ‘red list’ status.

Egypt coach Hossam El Badry has shrugged off the call-up complications and is focused on taking the North African side to successive World Cups for the first time in history.

“I was confident that we would reach the Africa Cup of Nations as the group winners and I’m also confident that we will make it to the World Cup finals,” he stated.

Angola, who were surprise World Cup qualifiers for the 2006 tournament, were last in action in March, recording a 2-0 home win over Gabon – though the result was not enough to secure a place at the next AFCON in Cameroon.

The Palancas Negras will have similar call-up issues as Egypt for the likes of Helder Costa (Leeds United) and Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham), but nonetheless boast a squad rife with European-based players.

Coach Pedro Gonçalves has stated confidently that, “The goal is to qualify the Angolan team for the World Cup in Qatar, starting by winning the first two matches.”

In head-to-head stats, Egypt and Angola have met in five matches across all competitions and friendlies dating back to their first clash in 1992. The Pharaohs boast an unbeaten record, with three wins and two draws.

The teams’ most recent meeting was in the quarterfinals of the 2008 AFCON, with Egypt claiming a 2-1 victory in Kumasi, Ghana en-route to winning the competition.

Following this match, Egypt will go on to face Gabon in Franceville on September 5, while Angola will host Libya in Luanda on September 7.

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