Egypt fulfilled their Arab Cup targets, says Queiroz

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Dec 2021

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz struck an upbeat tone despite the team's shootout loss to hosts Qatar in the Arab Cup third-place playoff on Saturday, saying the Pharaohs had fulfilled their pre-tournament targets.

Carlos Queiroz
Egypt s coach Carlos Queiroz (foreground) cheers his players as Tunisia s coach Mondher Kebaier (background) looks on during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 semi-final football match between Tunisia and Egypt at the 974 stadium in the Qatari capital of Doha on December 15, 2021 (AFP)

The Portuguese said more than once before the tournament that he would use it to try out new strategies and inject fresh blood before next month's African Nations Cup and an anticipated World Cup qualifying playoff in March.

Egypt topped their Arab Cup group ahead of Algeria after producing some fine displays before securing a narrow 1-0 win over Jordan in the quarters.

However, they looked toothless in a disappointing 1-0 semi-final loss to Tunisia, in which they conceded a last-gasp own goal, before failing to convert their chances against Qatar, who prevailed 5-4 on penalties following a goalless draw.

"We fulfilled our targets by giving a chance to young players. It was not possible before to watch them in action. Generally, I'm happy," Queiroz told the post-match news conference.

"There are lessons to be learned. I have to thank the players because they deserve to hear some good words."

Egypt were guilty of wasting some easy chances against Qatar, with the best one falling to striker Mohamed Sherif four minutes from the end of regulation time.

He latched onto a threaded pass from Hamdi Fathi to break clear, only to see his low shot saved by Qatar's in-form keeper Meshaal Barsham.

"Many times the winner is not necessarily the better side. We were better for the whole 120 minutes … but those who score are the ones who win," Queiroz added.

"Of course we had ambitions to reach the final or at least finish third, but luck was not on our side. I hope we will get better, especially that we have big challenges ahead in the Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers."

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