After two friendly games against Kuwait and Colombia, Héctor Cúper has made his decision on who will and won’t be making the trip to Russia. The Argentine had originally called up 29 players for the national team’s camp in Italy, but only 23 have made the cut with the biggest surprise being the exclusion of SC Braga’s striker, Ahmed Hassan ‘Kouka’.
As reported by the Egyptian Football Association, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz (Al Zamalek – Egypt), Karim Hafez (RC Lens – France), Al Ahmed Gomaa (Al Masry – Egypt), Amro Tarek (Orlando City – USA), Mohamed Awad (Al Ahly – Egypt), and Ahmed Hassan ‘Kouka’ (SC Braga – Portugal) are the six players that will miss out on the World Cup, and will also not be a part of the team’s squad for the third and final friendly game against Belgium.
Meanwhile, Salah and Mohamed Elneny have both been named in Cúper’s final squad. Both players are currently recovering from injuries sustained at the end of the season and are expected to be fit for the first group stage match against Uruguay.
The decision to leave Kouka behind means that Egypt will be going to Russia with only one natural number nine: Marwan Mohsen. The only other player capable of filling that spot is Mahmoud Kahraba who has been previously deployed as a center forward during the African Cup of Nations and most recently against Colombia. Mohamed Salah has also featured in that role a few times this season with Liverpool, but it is expected that he will be occupying his favorite position on the right wing.
Below is Egypt’s final 23-man World Cup squad, the first since 1990, along with each individual player assigned a shirt number for the tournament:
Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (#1, Al-Taawoun – Saudi Arabia), Sherif Ekramy (#16, Al Ahly – Egypt), and Mohamed El Shenawy (#23, Al Ahly – Egypt)
Defenders: Ali Gabr (#2, West Brom – England), Ahmed El Mohamady (#3, Aston Villa – England), Omar Gaber (#4, Los Angeles FC – USA), Ahmed Hegazy (#6, West Brom – England), Ahmed Fathy (#7, Al Ahly – Egypt), Mohamed Abdel Shafy (#13, Al Fateh – Saudi Arabia), Saad Samir (#20, Al Ahly – Egypt), Ayman Ashraf (#12, Al Ahly – Egypt), andMahmoud Hamdy (#15, Al Zamalek – Egypt)
Midfielders: Sam Morsy (#5, Wigan Athletic– England), Tarek Hamed (#8, Al Zamalek – Egypt), Kahraba (#11, Al-Ittihad – Saudi Arabia), Ramadan Sobhi (#14, Stoke City – England), Shikabala (#18, Al-Raed – Saudi Arabia), Abdallah El Said (#19, Kuopion Palloseura – Finland), Trezeguet (#21, Kasımpaşa – Turkey), Amr Warda (#22, Atromitos FC– Greece), and Mohamed Elneny (#17, Arsenal FC – England)
Attackers: Marwan Mohsen (#9, Al Ahly – Egypt), and Mohamed Salah (#10, Liverpool FC– England)