Egypt have been a constant presence at the FIFA Futsal World Cup since their 1996 debut in Spain, when they recorded the first win for an African nation at the tournament with an 8-2 trouncing of Australia. Four years later in Guatemala they tallied another first for an African side, when they reached the second round with wins over Uruguay and Thailand. Victory against Russia left them needing a draw against Argentina to reach the semi-finals, but it proved a step too far. At the last two editions of the competition, Chinese Taipei 2004 and Brazil 2008, the Pharaohs have failed to progress beyond the group stages.
Ranked second in Africa behind Libya, the Egyptians were expected to impress in the qualifying rounds and they duly delivered. Their 8-2 first leg thrashing of Nigeria prompted their shell-shocked opponents to withdraw from the return fixture, guaranteeing the Pharaohs their place at Thailand 2012.
Pharaohs’ coach Badr Khalil makes it clear that while nothing is impossible in football, there are no guarantees. Nevertheless, he is ready to do his utmost to see a world-ranked Egypt transcend their continental ambitions and make a mark on the global stage at Thailand 2012.
Facts and figures
Hema, Ahmed El Agouz and Hussein Gharib
Qualification in numbers
Egypt played three qualifying matches in the run-up to Thailand 2012, scoring 17 goals and conceding just five. In the second round they beat Tunisia 9-3 over two legs before going on to defeat Nigeria 8-2 in the first leg of the third round, a result that saw the Nigerians decline a second encounter.
5 – The number of FIFA Futsal World Cup finals that the Pharaohs have qualified for, a record for an African side.