Ahmed Hassan: I really hope Egypt reach the knockout stage
Despite winning four AFCON titles, former Pharaohs captain Ahmed Hassan never played at the World Cup. Hassan spoke on Egypt, Salah, and his predictions for the tournament.
“It’s a very good squad, with a lot of quality players. Several players who play and develop in Europe too. The squad lacks, perhaps, a little experience since the selection is quite young and has not yet faced the bigger nations. But she has just reached the World Cup and for that we must salute all her merit,” Hassan began.
Despite many young players in the team, Egypt has the fifth oldest squad at the World Cup partly due to legendary goal keeper Essam El-Hadary and defenders Ahmed Fathi and Mohamed Abdel-Shafy. However, El-Hadary has yet to feature in Russia. If he does, the former Al Ahly keeper would become the oldest player in history to feature at the World Cup.
“This group went to the World Cup when we were unable to do so for 28 years,” the former midfielder emphasized.
“If we compare the two generations, it is clear that ours was better in terms of talent and we played an attractive game. Individually and collectively we were on another level. But, at the same time, the current generation has achieved what we have not managed to do: play a World Cup, in addition to reaching the AFCON final,” Hassan commented on the comparisons between the two generations.
Since qualifying to the World Cup, comparisons have been made between the golden generation of three AFCON titles in a row and the current one. Many people have mentioned the difference in playing styles in explaining their shock at qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and not previous editions.
“We have a well-balanced, well-organized selection, but they still lack a lot of things. I really hope Egypt will reach the knockout stage of this World Cup,” Ahmed Hassan added.
“Mohamed Salah has achieved unprecedented feats. I think he himself did not expect to go that high and get to where he is today. He is doing very good things and he has become a worthy ambassador, not only for Egypt but also for the entire Arab world. At the moment, he is one of the best players in the world. I’m sure he will still progress tremendously and continue on the same path,” the former Al Ahly and Zamalek player added on the Liverpool forward.
Mohamed Salah had an amazing season for Liverpool breaking many records during the course of the season, including the coveted Golden Boot. The 26-year-old also scored the penalty that sent Egypt to the World Cup.
However during the Champions League final, Salah sustained a shoulder injury that has left him out of Egypt’s side since. Both Héctor Cúper and the EFA have assured that Salah is ready to play against Russia on Tuesday.
“Surely all of Egypt is counting on Salah to take us away. And he’s the star of the team. But I have the feeling that if we place all our hopes on him and his exploits, we will not go far. In football, it is the collective that counts and that allows you to achieve great performances,” Hassan concluded.
Egypt will face Russia on Tuesday before their final group stage match against Saudi Arabia on June 25.
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