West Bromwich's Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi said the Pharaohs fully deserved their place at the next year's World Cup finals following a dramatic 2-1 home victory over Congo on Sunday.
Egypt ended a 28-year wait for a World Cup appearance after a double from Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah, including a stoppage-time penalty, sealed a memorable win over a spirited Congo side at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium.
Hegazi, who has become a key player in the heart of West Brom defence since joining the English Premier League side on loan in the summer, said key to the victory was how his side had handled pressure in front of a sell-out crowd at the 86,000-seat stadium.
"Reaching the World Cup from a group that includes a continental heavyweight like Ghana shows that our achievement is completely deserved," Hegazi told Ahram's arabic website on Sunday.
"The game was very tough. We played against a good team who played without any pressure.
"There is a huge pressure on the Egyptian players but we managed to successfully handle it."
The 26-year-old said he is proud to be part of a generation that realized Egypt's long-held dream of making a third World Cup appearance.
"I am so proud to help Egypt reach the World Cup for the third time in their history."
Egypt made two World Cup appearances in 1934 and 1990, both in Italy.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)