Egypt eliminated from U-20 World Cup despite win over England

Hatem Maher, Saturday 29 Jun 2013

A 2-0 victory over England is not enough to lift Egypt to the U-20 World Cup round of 16


Brave Egypt snatched a late 2-0 victory over England on Saturday but it was not enough to prevent them from a group-stage exit at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Needing to secure a 3-0 win to go through as one of the top four third-placed sides, having been beaten in their opening two Group E games, Egypt could only notch two goals in the last 11 minutes.

Midfielder Mahmoud Trezeguet put Egypt ahead on 79 minutes and striker Ahmed Hassan "Kouka" added the second in stoppage time.

The young Pharaohs apparently thought that win would be enough to lift them to the World Cup round of 16, with the players celebrating widely after Kouka found the net in a late surge for an otherwise below-par Egypt that was outplayed by England for long periods.

Fellow African representative Ghana, who finished third in Group A with three points, leapfrogged Egypt (three points) into the knockout phase virtue of the goals scored. Both sides had a zero goal difference but the five goals Ghana had scored tipped the balance in their favour.

Egypt, who also beat England 2-1 in the 2003 edition in the United Arab Emirates, were knocked out at the last-16 stage in their last two World Cup appearances - in 2009 on home soil and 2011 in Colombia.

No creativity

Egypt, struggling for creativity, moved the ball around aimlessly when they had possession in the first half, unlike their opponents who created several clear-cut opportunities.

England could have taken the lead seconds into kick off when a free header by striker Harry Kane, who unsettled Egypt's shaky backline throughout the game, narrowly missed the target.

Egypt had to thank goalkeeper Mosaad Awad for pulling off a string of impressive saves to keep the score goalless, including a superb reflex save that denied an angled volley from Ross Barkley after 19 minutes.

England's diminutive midfielder Larnell Cole, who plays for Manchester United,  was a constant threat to a poor defence that leaked four goals in two games, but his finishing let him down every time he found himself in a one-on-one situation.

He skipped past his challenger inside the area on 49 minutes but his subsequent weak shot was blocked by Ahly's newly-signed keeper Awad as England continued from where they left off in the first period.

They were also unlucky not to go ahead when a curling free kick by Eric Dier struck the bar on 65 minutes.

However, Dier was at fault as Egypt, who mounted late pressure, scored against the run of play 14 minutes later for a lifeline.

Trezeguet cleverly nutmugged Dier on the edge of the area before placing a precise curling shot into the far corner, giving Egypt a slim hope that they could score two more goals in the dying minutes.

But England were still dangerous on the break, with Kane missing an open net after his initial header was parried by Awad into his path.

In a breathtaking finale, Kouka finished off a fast-paced counter attack with another low curling effort that went into the bottom corner but it was too little, too late as both Egypt and England waved goodbye to the tournament.

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