Tag: Egypt

Match Of The Midweek: Algeria 1-0 Egypt

It’s the derby of North Africa and the stakes couldn’t be higher – a play-off match in Sudan for a place in the World Cup finals in South Africa next year. Will the apolcayptic predictions of some in the press come to pass, or will we merely see which of these relative under-achievers will get through?

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The Confederations Cup: Egypt 1-0 Italy

On a night like tonight, one has to wonder whether there is something wrong at the heart of the psyche of the Italian national football team. They stand alone amongst the Great Football Nations in that they are prone to these bouts of extreme sudden clumsiness. No-one is going to suggest for a second that the Confederations Cup ranks anywhere near the World Cup in terms of prestige, importance or, well, anything, but it remains a tantalising possibility – did the ghosts of North Korea in 1966, Cameroon in 1982 and South Korea in 2002 drift silently and invisibly across the pitch at Ellis Park this evening. Just as England may never win a penalty shootout, are Italy to be forever doomed to the possibility of losing to opposition that they should, theoretically, be able to beat. The alternative, of course, is that common consensus has got things wrong. Egypt have been out of sorts of late, but they are deservedly the African champions and also the country of Al-Ahly, whose current team may just be the strongest that African club football has ever seen. It is wrong, in this day and age, to make patronising assumptions about what might once have been called football from Africa. There was only one team in Johannesberg this evening showing defensive naivete and that was the team in washed out blue and...

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The Confederations Cup: Brazil 4-3 Egypt

There is a reason why matches like this one are rare.  More, perhaps, is the pity.  But it is not just bull-headed, brass-necked conservative imperialism which sees 50 percent of the ten South American teams qualifying for the World Cup Finals, whilst just six of CAF’s 55 members will represent Africa next summer.  The relative quality and development of football is such that, for the most part, a significant gulf still exists in the relative standards of play and according expectations.  It is, in other words, statistical probability as much as geography which keeps Brazil and Egypt apart on football fields. Herein lies the real joy of a Confederations or World Cup, of course.  Nevertheless, it is perhaps only natural that one nation will dominate the build-up chatter, with every prediction or assumption seeing them as comfortable winners.  For better or worse, Brazil loomed so large over this tie that on paper, it was tempting to forget about Egypt entirely.  It’s fair to say that such a luxury will not now be afforded to Italy, their next opponents, in the build up to their match on Thursday. Focusing on Brazil was not such a bad idea, though, as their relationship with the Confederations Cup is a complex and textured one.  Two tournaments ago, in 2001, a struggling Seleção arrived in the Far East facing perhaps their first ever failure...

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The Confederations Cup – A (Very) Rough Guide

For some people, the end of the football season in years that end with odd numbers means a return to the real world. For two and a half months they become normal people, spending time with family and friends, allowing their sofas and their wallets to recover from the arduous few months that have just passed and giving every impression of being normal, well-rounded human beings. Others choose to prop themselves up with another sport, like tennis, cricket or rugby league. The rest of us, though, are suddenly rudderless. In years ending in even numbers, the end of the domestic football season means the beginning of getting excited about the World Cup or the European Championships (which is often better than the tournament itself). Those years ending in odd numbers, though… we spend the summer months staring blankly at “Big Brother” on the television or sitting in the pub wondering if it would be improper to try and instigate a conversation amongst your friends on the subject of just how much Roger Tames looked like Roger de Courcey (of “Nookie Bear” fame). This year, though, we have the Confederations Cup. FIFA’s excuse for the Confederations Cup makes a degree of sense. It’s a warm up for next years World Cup finals – chance for the host nation to test out its media and transport infrastructure prior to the tournament...

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