Egyptian football is on a date with history-making, when Egypt’s Olympic U-23 team meets its Brazilian counterpart in the quarter-finals of men’s football competitions at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Saturday.
And the curtain came down on the group stage of the men’s football competitions at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Egyptian team became the only representative of Arab football in the playoffs of the competitions, after the Saudi team exited the first round, finishing fourth in the fourth group without points.
Egypt ranked second in Group C in the first round with 4 points, a point behind the leaders Spain, who advanced with it to the quarter-finals, while the Pharaohs outperformed Argentina, who is in third place, who also has 4 points, with a difference of goals. to it if the points are equal. Egypt, which is still looking for the first Olympic medal in its history in the group games, hit a date with Brazil, which topped the fourth group, with seven points, in a rematch of their meeting that took place 57 years ago, when they met in the group stage at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and tied 1 -1, and the opportunity will be favorable for the Pharaohs to avenge their 2-3 loss to samba dancers in the group stage of the London 2012 Olympics, especially after the momentum they obtained after beating Brazil 2-1 in a friendly tournament last November in Cairo.
After failing to pass the quarter-finals in the Los Angeles and London Olympics in 1984 and 2012, respectively, Egypt aspires to re-emerge in the Olympics gold square, after being in the semi-finals in Amsterdam and Tokyo in 1928 and 1964, respectively, and satisfied with getting fourth place during them.
Despite the failure of the Egyptian team to use Mohamed Salah, the top scorer of the Liverpool team, as one of the three players who can be included over the legal age, as well as Mostafa Mohamed, the team’s top scorer in the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, which the team crowned in November 2019, through which it climbed to competitions Ball in the Olympics for the twelfth time in its history, but he made a good return during his journey in the group stage.
The Egyptian team drew without goals with its Spanish counterpart, the European youth champion, at the beginning of its matches in the third group, before losing 0-1 to Argentina, the champion of the South American continent, and then achieving a convincing victory 2-0 over Australia at the end of its matches in the first round.
The trio of Ahmed Hegazy, a professional in the Saudi Federation of Jeddah, Mahmoud Hamdi Al-Wansh, defender of Zamalek, and Mohamed El-Shennawy, goalkeeper Al-Ahly, who were hired by the Egyptian Olympic team over the legal age, played a prominent role in achieving this achievement.
Hegazy is on a date with a historic achievement against Brazil. If he participates in Saturday’s meeting, he will share the top spot in the list of the most Egyptian football players participating in the Olympic Games with the late players Ali Al-Hassani and Mohamed Badawi, with 8 matches each.
In a press conference after the victory over Australia, Egypt Olympic team coach Shawky Gharib said that Mohamed El-Shennawy was a safety valve for the team with the defensive duo Hegazy and Al-Wansh.
Gharib stressed that his team’s ambition is to reach as far as possible in the Olympics, pointing to its unlimited confidence in the players and their capabilities.
After he led the Egyptian under-19 team to third place in the World Youth Cup, which was held in Argentina in 2001, achieving the only medal that Egyptian football won at the level of teams in the world championships in various age groups, Gharib hopes to repeat the same thing and lead the Egyptian Olympic team to kidnap A medal in Tokyo.
The task of the Egyptian team will not be easy to cross the Brazilian team, which dreams of retaining the gold medal, which it won for the first time in its history at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, especially in light of its possession of a battalion of stars in various lines.
The spotlight will be on Richarlison, the Everton star, who has rediscovered himself, by scoring 5 goals in his Olympic career so far, 3 goals during Brazil’s 4/2 victory over Germany, in the opening round, and two goals during his country’s 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia. While he was unable to find the net during the 0-0 draw with Côte d’Ivoire.
The group stage of the Olympics resulted in many surprises, most notably the early exit of France, Germany and Argentina.
The first round witnessed the scoring of 68 goals in 24 matches, at an average of 2.83 goals per game, with 23 goals in the first group, 17 goals in the second, only 8 goals in the third, and 20 goals in the fourth group.
South Korea came at the top of the list of the most scoring teams, after its players scored 10 goals, followed by Mexico with eight goals, while Japan, Korea, Egypt and Spain topped the list of the strongest defense lines, after each of them received one goal.
The quarter-finals include two teams from Asia, Japan and South Korea, who topped the first and second groups, respectively, in addition to two African teams, Egypt and Côte d’Ivoire, and the only representative of Europe is Spain, and another from North America is Mexico, as well as New Zealand represented by Oceania and Brazil represented on Latin America.
Only three teams from the quarter-finals have previously won the gold medal in the Olympic football competitions, as it comes to Spain, Barcelona’s 1992 gold medalist, and Mexico, the London Olympic champion, unlike the Brazilian team crowned in the Rio Olympics.
In the event of a victory over Brazil, the opportunity will be relatively easier for the Egyptians to reach the final, and then grab an Olympic medal for the first time in the history of Arab football, after Iraq, the other Arab country that recorded its presence in the semi-finals, was satisfied with fourth place also in its only appearance In the golden square in the Athens 2004 Olympics. The winner of the match between Egypt and Brazil plays in the semi-finals, with the winner of the confrontation of South Korea and Mexico, while the winner of the match of Japan and New Zealand meets the winner of the match of Spain and Cote d’Ivoire, in the other path towards the final.
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