AFCON 2021: Why Egypt are the worst finalist in recent memory

Egypt qualified for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final despite not lighting up the tournament

Egypt are through to the AFCON 2021 final despite being unimpressive

That should be an exciting outcome as Sadio Mane’s Senegal against Mohamed Salah’s Egypt was probably the dream final everyone wanted but based on the evidence of the performances so far, something feels off.

Just as a cow should not be on a tree nor should there be meat in a can of sardines, the Pharaohs of Egypt should not be in the final of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Egypt scored four goals and conceded twice in six games, only three goals within regulation time, all three knockout games went into extra time, two of those were decided by penalty shootouts.

For context, since group stages were introduced to the Africa Cup on Nations in Ghana 1963, only two times has a finalist team scored less than Egypt’s four goals en route to an AFCON final.

Ghana scored three goals in 1963 on their way to the final of the tournament they hosted but then there were no knockout games, it was straight from the group stage to the final. There were only three teams per group at the time too which means Ghana only played two games before the final and scored three goals, Egypt scored four in six in 2021.

The next and last time this happened was in Morocco 1988 when Cameroon scored three goals in four games before the final.

Only four previous Africa Cup of Nations finalists have done just as poorly as Egypt in front of goal. Ivory Coast in Senegal 1992, Ghana in Angola 2010, and Egypt and Cameroon in Gabon 2017 all scored exactly four goals before the final.

But it is worth noting that this Egyptian team played more games and dare I say more minutes (because of all the extra time) than all of those teams which makes them the worst in this discussion.

In fact, a closer look at their six games so far will validate the point that Egypt at AFCON 2021 are the worst team to qualify for an AFCON final perhaps in history.

Egypt were dominated by the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the opening game and even though they followed that poor display with two 1-0 wins over Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, they neither looked convincing nor imperious.

They were rescued by the goalkeeper in the Round of 16 against Ivory Coast both in regulation time and on penalties. The quarter-final against Morocco is their only good game at this tournament so far and even then they had a shaky first half.

The Pharaohs would go on to improve in the second half and win 2-1 in extra time thanks to the individual brilliance of Mohamed Salah who contributed a goal and an assist.

And the less said about the semi-final performance the better, only one shot on target in 120 minutes of football is not what you expect from a team in the final, it is almost criminal how uninventive this Egypt squad is.

Carlos Queiroz’s team have a lot of work on their hands if they aim to win the final against Senegal, a team that has scored eight goals in their last three games.

Egypt on the other hand have scored eight goals in their last 11 matches which shows that this issue transcends the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Egypt under Carlos Queiroz are just not a good team and look out of place in the final of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

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