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NUMBERS | This stat will quash the myth of Héctor Cúper’s ‘defensive genius’

Egypt national team

Photo: Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Egypt manager Héctor Cúper has long been hailed as the man that solidified Egypt’s defensive strategy, but according to this stat, this flaw has lost Egypt more than one would imagine.

Héctor Cúper has been in charge of the national team for exactly three years now, taking charge of 32 matches with the Egyptian national team. His record is one he could be proud of, taking Egypt to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time after missing out on three editions, with the Pharaohs reaching the final as well as qualifying to the for the first time in 28 years.

32 matches, 19 wins, five draws and eight losses. Impressive, right? It might be, considering that Egypt managed to win 12 of those in official matches in regular time. It’s all good when Egypt do not concede but when they do, you know trouble is coming as there is one very apparent way of scoring against the Pharaohs under Cúper, just cross the ball into the box.

Héctor Cúper’s Egypt side has conceded a total of 18 goals during his reign in all competitions. What seems to be amazing is that he has drastically failed in teaching his team one simple thing: How to clear a cross.

No team is perfect when it comes to that aspect but the numbers behind the failure are astonishing. If we take a look at Egypt’s centerbacks used during Cuper’s reign, we find that he only plays defenders with the height to clear the crosses.


Ahmed Hegazi: 1.95m


Photo: Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Ali Gabr: 1.94m


Photo: Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Rami Rabia: 1.86m


Saad Samir: 1.85m


Photo: Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Ahmed Dweidar: 1.80m
Islam Gamal: 1.75m

Apart from the final two players, who have participated in a combined five matches for Cúper, Egypt’s defenders start at a height of 1.85m.

READ | Héctor Cúper leading an International Failure and Embarrassment in the Making

Replays show that despite conceding 18 goals in 32 matches, the Pharaohs were victims of 13 goals coming from crosses or long balls (just once against Cameroon). That is right, for a team that many claim is now solid at the back, 72.2% of the goals they’ve conceded have come from identical situations.

Yes, Egypt did play only against two European nations who have higher abilities than African teams when it comes to crossing the ball, but what is the excuse to conceding twice against Chad & once against Jordan?

Luis Suarez

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Those 13 goals came in 11 matches. Egypt have lost six of them, drew two and won three. So it is more likely than not, Egypt lose when they concede from a cross and with the World Cup coming up where the Pharaohs kick-off their campaign against Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, the signs are not looking good.

Listed below are the matches where Egypt conceded from crosses.

Egypt vs Chad: One goal conceded – Final score: 5-1
Egypt vs Chad: One goal conceded – Final score: 0-1.
Egypt vs South Africa: One goal conceded – Final score: 0-1.
Egypt vs Guinea: One own-goal conceded from a cross – Final score: 1-1.
Egypt vs Jordan: One goal conceded – Final score: 0-1.
Egypt vs Congo: One goal conceded – Final score: 2-1.
Egypt vs Burkina Faso: One goal conceded – Final score: 1-1 (Egypt through on penalties).
Egypt vs Cameroon: Two goals conceded (One from a cross, another from a long ball) – Final score: 1-2.
Egypt vs Congo: One goal conceded – Final score: 2-1.
Egypt vs Portugal: Two goals conceded – Final score: 1-2.
Egypt vs Greece: One goal conceded – Final score: 0-1.

ALSO READ | The players that fell into Héctor Cúper’s Mouse Trap

Operations and Business Development Manager of KingFut. Degree in Pharmacy and Biotechnology from the German University in Cairo. Manchester United fan.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ahmed

    March 29, 2018 at 9:25 PM

    Jordan is a decent team.

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