Preview: Egypt's handball team eyes historic last-four berth at Olympics

Mohamad Mosselhi , Monday 2 Aug 2021

With the team’s excellent performance during the group stage, Egypt has the right to dream of reaching the semis for the first time in the country’s history

Egypt s left back Hassan Walid Kaddah is challenged during the men s preliminary round group B handball match between Egypt and Bahrain of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. AFP

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant once said, “if you want to make history, you have to do historic things.”

Thus, the Egyptian handball team should glean some inspiration from Bryant’s quote when they take on Germany in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Egypt have never managed to proceed further than the quarterfinals in their six previous participations at the Olympic games.

Their best performance was in the Atalanta 1996 Olympics when they claimed sixth place.

With the team’s excellent performance during the group stage, Egypt has the right to dream of reaching the semis for the first time in the country’s history.

Egypt won four of their five group stage games to reach the quarterfinals, claiming 2nd place in their group and leveling with group leaders Denmark at eight points.

During this stage, the Egyptian side put on convincing displays of skill and sportsmanship, beating 2021 World Championship runners-up Sweden, before suffering their only defeat against World Champions Denmark.

“We have the right to dream,” Egypt’s keeper Karim Hindawi told reporters.

“We confirmed that we are capable of competing with the world’s heavyweights.”

On paper, Egypt has a good chance in Tuesday’s clash against Germany. The German side, who are a classic heavyweight in handball, are far from tip-top shape, as they are currently building a new team.

Germany finished 12th in the 2021 World championship in January, and they also claimed 3rd place in the group stage of the Olympics with six points, lagging behind France and Spain.

On the other hand, Egypt seem to be in good form with the superb performance of French side Nimes’ left back Ahmed Hisham and Hungarian side Verzsprem’s right back Yehya Khaled; both of which have become Egypt’s top scorers in this Olympics, with 22 goals so far.

Zamalek playmaker Yehya El-Deraa is among Egypt’s best performers in the competition as well, along with keeper Karim Hendawi, who saved 45 percent of all shots during Egypt’s win over Sweden in the group stage.

The Egyptian team also has many experienced players, such as veteran skipper Ahmed El-Ahmar and Barcelona’s left back Ali Zein, who have been an asset to the team.

“Our mission against Germany will not be easy,” Egyptian skipper Ahmed El-Ahmar told Reuters on Sunday.

“But we are ready for all opponents. If you want to go for a medal, you’re going to face the toughest opponents.”

“We have a good understanding of the German team, and we are ready for them,” El-Ahmar concluded. 

The winner of the Egypt vs. Germany clash will take on in the semis the winner of the France vs. Bahrain game.  

Check Team Egypt squad

Check Team Egypt schedule and results 

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