By Ahram Online:
Egypt will play their fifth World Cup qualifying playoff when they face Ghana for a place at next year’s finals in Brazil.
Out of the previous four occasions, Egypt qualified twice for the world’s most prestigious football event after overcoming Palestine and Algeria in 1934 and 1989 respectively.
They also lost twice to Italy and Algeria in 1954 and 2009 respectively.
Egypt vs Palestine (1934 World Cup qualifiers)
Egypt were paired with Palestine and Turkey in Group 12 of the qualifiers, which was the first time that system was introduced after world governing body FIFA invited teams to participate in the previous edition in 1930.
However, Turkey withdrew from the qualifiers, leaving Egypt and Palestine to battle it out for a place at the 1934 Italy finals.
Egypt hammered Palestine 7-1 in the first leg in Cairo, thanks to a hat-trick from Mahmoud Mokhtar Refai and a brace from Mohamed Latif, and beat them again 4-1 in Palestine to become the first African team to play at the World Cup.
Egypt vs Italy (1954 World Cup qualifiers)
Egypt were handed a tough playoff 20 years later after being drawn against Italy as both sides vied for a place at the 1954 Switzerland finals.
The Pharaohs were no match for their illustrious opponents, who eased into the World Cup with a 7-2 aggregate win.
Egypt slumped to a 2-1 defeat in the first-leg, with former forward Mohamed El-Diba scoring the hosts’ only goal.
Egypt then had a night to forget in the away leg after suffering a 5-1 loss to Italy as a solitary goal from Alaa El-Hamouly proved a mere consolation.
Egypt vs Algeria (1990 World Cup qualifiers)
Egypt finally made their second World Cup appearance after a 56-year absence and it came at the expense of fierce North African rivals Algeria, who were stiff opponents over two legs.
A cagey first-leg ended in a goalless draw but, four minutes into the second leg at the intimidating Cairo Stadium, then promising striker Hossam Hassan headed home following a pinpoint cross and Egypt held on for a famous victory that took them to the 1990 finals in Italy.
Egypt vs Algeria (2010 World Cup qualifiers)
A dramatic 2-0 home win for Egypt over Algeria, which included a goal from Emad Meteb deep into stoppage time, forced another playoff against the Desert Foxes, which took place in Omdurman in Sudan.
The Egyptian media euphoria that followed this remarkable win had many Egyptians thinking that a third World Cup appearance was a formality but Algeria had the upper hand in a tense playoff to snatch the 2010 World Cup ticket.
The match was settled five minutes before the break when Algeria defender Antar Yahia capitalized on a defensive lapse to volley home from a tight angle and send Algerian fans into raptures.