Pearce recalls Egypt encounter
Wednesday, 03 March, 2010
Coach was part of England team that last played tonight's opponents.
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England Coach Stuart Pearce was in the team the last time the Three Lions met Egypt at the World Cup in Italy twenty years ago.
Pearce was playing left-back for Bobby Robson’s side who were looking for the edge to finish Group F as winners. It was a case of draws all round going into the match with us, Holland, Republic of Ireland and Egypt all level going into the final round of games . But it was a 64th-minute winner from defender Mark Wright that gave England the group’s only victory and sent them through to the last 16.
The former Nottingham Forest defender, who would usually be sitting next to Fabio Capello in the dugout if his Under-21s weren’t also playing in Doncaster this evening, recalls that famous night in Cagliari that spurred England on to the Semi-Finals, and we all know what happened there.
“After the two draws in the group we went into the final game against supposedly the weakest team, but it was anything but easy,” Pearce told TheFA.com.
“It took Mark Wright’s goal from Gazza’s set-piece to win the game for us and we had to work very hard to take all the points and win the group.
“As it turned out, three of the teams got through from out group; us, the Dutch and Ireland, so we all got what we wanted, but it was not an easy game against the Egyptians.
“They played well, drawing their other two games, so would no doubt have thought themselves unlucky going out at that stage.”
And how does Pearce assess England’s first opponents of 2010 as they build towards the World Cup Finals in South Africa?
“They are a very good side and showed that by winning the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said. “It’ll be a very good game for us, playing against an African side in the build-up to the World Cup.
“It’s probably what you want at this stage of the preparation, a diversity of matches to reflect what we might end up having to face in South Africa. It’ll be an interesting match for us, that’s for sure.”
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