It was the 90th minute, and it looked as if Egypt was about to pull off a major upset. Although just a Friendly, this victory would have been huge with the world cup begining in a few short months. Egypt was minutes away from beating one of the world powers, but then Cristiano Ronaldo showed everyone was he is one of, if not the best player on the planet right now. In the 92nd minute, Ricardo Quaresma sent a cross into the box. Ronaldo came flying in right between two Egyptian defenders and headed the ball into the bottom corner. The egyptian goalkeeper dove for it, and was able to get a hand on it, however he was unable to stop Ronaldo’s shot. It was now the 94th minute and Portugal had a free kick from pretty far outside the box. Ricardo Quaresma sent in another nice ball. This time it looked as if the Egyptians had learned their lesson. They surrounded Ronaldo with 4 or 5 defenders. A 1-1 tie would not be bad at all, especially against one of the best soccer teams in the world. Then Ronaldo came out of nowhere and managed to get off a header between all the Egyption defenders. The header was beautifully stroke. The ball went in the bottom corner. The keeper had zero chance of saving it. The referee blew the final whistle and that was it. In the span of two minutes Egypt went from almost winning to a crushing defeat. Ronaldo proved again why he is so special. With just minutes he crushed the spirits of an Egyptian squad looking to make a run in the world cup.
Egypt is one of the top underdog favorites as they are in a relatively easy group. They have one of the best goal scorers in the world in Mohamed Salah, and a strong team defense behind him, which was able to hold Portugal to zero goals for 92 minutes. Egypt is one of the underdogs everyone is excited to watch this world cup. This is Egypt’s first qualification in 28 years and only their third all time as a country. Egypt is in a group with the host country Russia, so while most groups have two powerhouse teams, their group only has one. Many spectators and sports analysts are picking Egypt to advance out of their group, and some are even picking them to win their group. With all this hope and promise around Egypt, why was this loss so important? While many people think Egypt can make a run, there are still many doubters and this loss proved the doubters right. In order for Egypt to make a real run in the World Cup they will need to be some soccer powerhouses. This match showed that even with a lead with 2 minutes left the Egyptians couldn’t hold a lead let alone even tie. Also were Egypt to make it out of there group, the team they have the best chance of playing in the first elimination round would be Portugal. Were Egypt able to defeat Portugal in a friendly there would be a lot of hype around the rematch. If Egypt is not able to hold a lead against Portugal in a friendly, then people will have no reason to believe they could beat Portugal when all the marbles are on the line. Egypt has some young stars and a solid team, but this match showed everyone why they aren’t a world presence in soccer and why they could easily have a terrible World Cup performance and go home in the group stage.
It will be very interesting to see how Egypt responds in the next few months. They still have 2 more friendlies before the World Cup; one against Kuwait and one against Belgium. The Egyptian squad should beat Kuwait, however, it will be very interesting to see how they perform against Belgium. Belgium is another one of the soccer world powers and one of the favorites to win the World Cup. This will be a tough test for Egypt, however if they play well it will give all the Egyptian fans hope going into the World Cup. Will the team that shoutout Portugal for 92 minutes show up? Or will the team that gave up 2 goals in the final 2 minutes to blow a 1 goal lead show up? Many will be hoping it’s the first option and that Egypt is a real force to be reckoned with in the World Cup. The doubters will be looking towards the second option and will say there performance against Portugal was a fluke. Only time will tell whether Egypt is for real.