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Egypt Gives Brazil a Close Shave In Entertaining Festival Of Goals

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Egypt Gives Brazil a Close Shave In Entertaining Festival Of Goals
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Pharoahs stun the Samba boys but are unlucky

Tell any team that you are going to score three goals against a Brazil side sporting the likes of Kaka, Robinho, and Danny Alves, and they will tell you, "in our dreams."

Yet this morning, two-time African champions, Egypt, managed this incredible feat in the opening round of the Confederations Cup - except they also lost.

Such is the beautiful irony of football; in a game in which 11 men face off against 11 men with nothing between them but a round object, anything can happen. Indeed the game packed many surprises and an ironic ending.

Brazil scored early with some fanciful footwork from $92 million dollar man, Kaka, assisted by some poor defending from Egypt's back line.

But in a sign of the fighting spirit to come, Egypt quickly equalized from a Mohamed Zidan header served by Abou Treika on the counter attack.

Brazil made it 3-1 on the half, and Egypt seemed destined for a thrashing.

But came the second half, and Egypt unleashed an admirable display that saw them dominating possession and winning the half 2-1 through goals by Mohamed Shawky and Mohamed Zidan whose finish was clinically executed.

The final score, 4-3, seemed a little harsh on an Egyptian side that displayed the best of African football and stood shoulder to shoulder with Brazil's superstars, indeed a little taller at times.

Controversy

Controversy surrounded Brazil's winning goal that came off a penalty in the final minute of the game via Kaka.

In a scuffle following a set piece play, Egypt substitute, Mohamedi, obstructed a goal with his hand.

At first, neither the referee nor the assistant referee saw the violation. A corner was awarded.

However, as Mohamedi lingered on the ground, writhing in simulated pain, his acting got the better of him and the referee had all the time he needed to reverse his decision after consulting with the fourth official. A penalty was awarded.

Interestingly, while the penalty was just, the process in awarding it contradicts FIFA's stipulations that do not sanction feedback from television replays in referee decision making. (Players from both Egypt and Brazil have made clear that the fourth official alerted the referee via radio after catching the replays on the stadium screen.)

Egypt has indicated its intent to lodge an official complaint, but while a technical reading of the rules should see the goal cancelled, that is unlikely to happen.

Despite the loss, Egypt can take solace from its brave performance that kept Brazil level through normal regulation time and surprised many onlookers in the process. Egypt will also be proud to have done justice to the image of African football on a global stage as important as this.

All in all, the game was a testament to free-flowing, fair-play, football that started the continental champions off to an exhilarating start.

Egypt and Brazil are joined by Italy and the USA in group A, while Spain joines Iraq, South Africa, and New Zealand in group B.

Egypt will face a second barrier against World Cup champion Italy, but should fancy its chances against USA who lost 3-1 to Italy today. Egypt is missing strikers Amr Zaki (injury) and Mido (not selected) but should take comfort in rising starlet, Eid's, performance as a substitute against Brazil.

My predictions for tournament champions: Spain.

 

 

 

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