x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Egypt blame cup exit on schedule

Egypt's coaching staff blamed its collapse against the US on a tough Confederations Cup schedule and injuries.

Charlie Davies of USA beats the challenge of Ahmed Fathi and Essam El Hadary of Egypt and goes on to score the opening goal.
Charlie Davies of USA beats the challenge of Ahmed Fathi and Essam El Hadary of Egypt and goes on to score the opening goal.

RUSTENBURG, South Africa // Egypt's coaching staff blamed its collapse against the United States on a tough Confederations Cup schedule and injuries to key players. The assistant coach Chawki Gharib said that playing two of the world's top ranked teams in Brazil and World Cup holder Italy had exhausted the African champions, who could not recover with just three days between games. Egypt had been favoured over the United States to reach the semifinals but rather than picking up an expected win, lost 3-0 and left the tournament in last place in Group B. "We didn't have time to heal and prepare ourselves between matches," Mr Gharib said through a translator. "We had fatigue and that is also due to a lack of concentration." Egypt was already without striker Mohamed Zidan because of a hamstring injury and sustained more injuries during what turned out to be its final match in the tournament. "Today we lost Ahmed Fathi and Ahmed Abdelghani," Mr Gharib said. "All these players were injured and we have tried to inject new blood. "We tried to play better but we accept this weakness that we had tonight. It is necessary that we prepare and motivate our players to perform in future. These are the players we have. They are the players that won the match against Italy." But Zidan's absence was glaring. Abdelghani showed three times in the first 13 minutes why he was only a replacement for the player who scored twice in the opening 4-3 loss to Brazil. He shot high and wide when he had time to compose himself for an effort on target and then swung his right leg at a cross from the right only to miss and fall over. And when the ball came to him during a scramble in front of the Americans' goal, he swung and missed again. Jay DeMerit blocked a follow-up shot and the danger was cleared. While Egypt seemed exhausted after its 1-0 win over Italy, the United States seems to have learned to pace itself after elimination from the first round of its last three major international tournaments. A 3-1 loss to Italy and 3-0 loss to Brazil somehow allowed the Americans to play their way into some kind of form. "Tonight we knew fatigue would be a factor if we could get the lead," United States coach Bob Bradley said. "Italy is a great team but you sensed watching Egypt the other night, they put a lot into our game and they looked tired. "Brazil, on the other hand, are so talented and they looked like they had a good rhythm. We thought if we could get the lead, we thought we had a chance if we did our part."

*AP