Egypt 'yet to peak' despite progress to last eight in Olympics, says coach

Ahram Online , Wednesday 28 Jul 2021

Egypt face 2016 gold medalists Brazil in a mouthwatering quarter-final clash at the Olympic Games on Saturday

Egypt v Australia
Egypt s players celebrate their victory against Australia after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men s group C first round football match between Australia and Egypt at the Miyagi Stadium in Miyagi on July 28, 2021 (AFP)

Egypt coach Shawky Gharib believes his side are yet to play to their full potential after they advanced to the Olympic Games quarters with a 2-0 victory over Australia on Wednesday.

The Pharaohs set up a mouthwatering last-eight clash with Brazil after finishing second in Group C with four points, pipping Argentina to the knockout stage by virtue of a better goal difference.

"We are yet to peak," Gharib, who led Egypt to a memorable third-place finish at the 2001 Youth World Championship, told beIN Sports in a side-pitch interview.

"We had difficulties preparing for the tournament but today we were adventurous and this approach paid off."

Egypt, unlike the previous two games against Spain and Argentina, played with a bold formation that featured only one central midfielder in Akram Tawfik, with three attacking midfielders supporting a lone striker.

The strategy paid off as a goal from frontman Ahmed Rayan on the stroke of halftime and a late strike from substitute Ammar Hamdi gave them a precious victory.

"I had to do that (play with an attacking formation) as we had no option but to win," Gharib added.

Egypt's bid for their first ever Olympic medal in football faces a stern test against 2016 gold medalists Brazil on Saturday.

"We know that God will be on our side against Brazil. We have a specific target in our minds that we are eager to fulfill," Gharib said.

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