Egypt qualified for the 2018 World Cup on Sunday, making it to the tournament for the first time since 1990. Here’s how much it means to Egyptian fans.
So my dads soccer team won and this was the result.... pic.twitter.com/3zdHmf0E5P— صوفيا (@sdeezy_) October 8, 2017
Egypt’s victory came on the second last-minute goal to get to the World Cup in as many days, with Costa Rica pulling off the same thing on Saturday.
Here’s what the scene looked like in the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria when Mohamed Salah scored from the penalty spot to book his team’s place at Russia 2018.
هدف محمد صلاح التاريخي في الدقيقة 95 ، المؤهل لكأس العالم 2018 ❤️. pic.twitter.com/cam70IxlVs— عز (@MnbrMadrid4) October 8, 2017
Egypt was arguably Africa’s best team during the 1990s and 2000s, despite never making the World Cup. The Pharaohs won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010, but consistently faltered in World Cup qualifying.
The Pharaohs didn’t even qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for three consecutive tournaments due to fallout from the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, the 2012 Port Said stadium riot, and the subsequent cancellation of the Egyptian league season. But the Egyptian Premier League is back to competing at the top of African soccer, while the national team has rebuilt around Salah and other young talent. Egypt also has an excellent manager in Héctor Cuper. This February, the Pharaohs finished as runners-up at AFCON.
All of that turmoil is why making the World Cup means more to fans of Egypt than most of the other teams who will make the trip to Russia. It’ll be great to finally see them on the world stage.