Egypt salute South African fans

19 June 2009

The Egyptian football team have saluted the crowd at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium following their historic 1-0 victory over world champions Italy in a Fifa Confederations Cup match on Thursday evening.

It was Italy’s first ever loss to an African team, following 14 previous encounters that included four wins over Egypt.

Over 50 000 fans braved chilly weather to watch the game, and The Pharaohs clearly revelled in the electric atmosphere.

According to a report on Fifa.com, Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan said playing in Johannesburg felt like playing in Cairo.

“I think the way the crowd got behind us was excellent, and it motivated us a lot towards the end,” said Zidan, who scored twice in Egypt’s nailbiting 4-3 loss to Brazil in the opening game of the group on Monday.

“It was great, and almost a feeling like playing at home in Egypt. I think we had a very good experience with the atmosphere today.”

With the Italian defenders denying Zidan the space he enjoyed against the Brazilians, it was Mohamed Homos, shaking his marker to nod in a header from a corner kick five minutes before half-time, who rose to the occasion for the African champions.

At the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary put in a number of outstanding saves to deny the likes of Giuseppe Rossi, Vincenzo Iaquinta and Riccardo Montolivo.

The African champions have put themselves within reach of the semifinals of Fifa’s “Festival of Continental Champions”. Brazil top the group with six points following their 3-0 win over the United States on Thursday, while Italy and Egypt are level on three points each.

Brazil play Italy in Pretoria on Sunday, while Egypt take on the Americans, knowing that a win will give them every chance of a semi-final berth.

SAinfo reporter and Fifa.com