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For first time since 'that rubbish' and Dunphy controversy, Egypt will be at a World Cup

Liverpool’s Mo Salah was the hero with a crucial 95th-minute penalty.

Image: ©INPHO

IT’S BEEN A long time since Egypt last qualified for a World Cup and despite their continental success, it’s been a tough road.

They may have tasted African Cup of Nations success four times, including three straight victories between 2006 and 2010, but getting reacquainted with a World Cup has consistently eluded them.

You have to go back to Italia ’90 when they last reached the promised land. They were eliminated at the group stage but conceded just two goals in three games and drew with both reigning European champions the Netherlands and Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland.

Infamously, in the immediate aftermath of the latter, Eamon Dunphy skewered the Irish performance live on RTE and described it as ‘rubbish’ and ‘shameful’.

“I felt embarrassed for soccer,” he said.

“Embarrassed for the country. I feel ashamed with that performance. Everyone in the country has been let down. The Egyptians were terrible. They are terrible. England will do a job on them. We should be ashamed of the way we went about the game. This is a great footballing country…only to go out and play that rubbish.”

Dunphy’s prediction was a little off and England later huffed and puffed against a resolute and organised Egyptian defence in their group finale. Mark Wright scored the only goal of the game just before the hour and Egypt headed home.

Ever since it’s been a frustrating World Cup story.

Until now.

Having finished as runners-up in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations under Hector Cuper, the team needed a win against Congo on Sunday to book their place in Russia.

Liverpool attacker Mo Salah opened the scoring but the guests later equalised. The game seemed certain to finish in stalemate when Egypt were awarded a penalty in the 95th-minute.

Salah stepped up and made no mistake to cue incredible, jubilant scenes in Alexandria.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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