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Egypt in Pot 2 for African World Cup play-offs draw

Pharaohs could face Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria or Tunisia in World Cup play-offs after being placed in Pot 2 for the draw

Eslam Omar, Thursday 12 Sep 2013
Egyptian national soccer team
Egyptian national soccer team (Photo: AP)

Egypt have been placed in Pot 2 for the play-offs of the African World Cup qualifiers, based on FIFA's world rankings published on Thursday.

Egypt climbed eleven places to 50 in the FIFA ranking this month, published four days before the draw at the CAF headquarters in Cairo.

Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Tunisia will be in Pot 1 as they claimed the five highest ranking among the qualified African teams, while Egypt, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Ethiopia are in Pot 2.

The ten teams topped their groups in the CAF qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The first legs of the playoff matches will be played between 11 and 15 October, with the second legs between 15 and 19 November.

There will be also a draw for each match to determine which team plays host first.

The Pharaohs' last World Cup qualifiers play-off was against Algeria in 2009, in which the pair drew on aggregate and had to play a decider at a neutral venue in Sudan. Algeria claimed the ticket after a 1-0 victory leaving tension between the two Arab countries, which began on the field and grew into clashes between spectators and even reached wider political problems.

Egypt's last game against Ghana was a friendly in January 2013 when the Pharaohs lost 3-0 ahead of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) in 2013, which Egypt failed to qualify for. But the previous meeting was crucial as Egypt, under the country's most successful coach, Hassan Shehata, defeated Ghana 1-0 in the final of the CAN 2010 to claim their seventh trophy.

The winners of three successive CAN in 2006, 2008 and 2010 have proven their superiority over powerful Ivory Coast, crushing them in the 2006 final and 2008 semis. But they failed to defeat them in a friendly in January 2013 amid the Elephants' preparations for CAN 2013.

Egypt, defeated Nigeria in their last match at CAN 2010, while they lost their last friendly against Tunisia 1-0 in October 2012.

FIFA rankings for September (August positions in parentheses):

1. Spain (1)
2. Argentina (4)
3. Germany (2)
4. Italy (6)

5. Colombia (3)
6. Belgium (10)
7. Uruguay (12)
8. Brazil (8)
9. Netherlands (5)
10. Croatia (8)

Top 10 African teams:
19. Ivory Coast (18)
24. Ghana (24)
28. Algeria (34)
36. Nigeria (35)
38. Mali (32)
44. Cape Verde Islands (36)
46. Tunisia (53)

50. Egypt (61)
51. Burkina Faso (48)
61.Cameroon (51)

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