Egypt hoping for more clinical showing than African Youth Championships.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
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Samuel Philip Steinbock
Egypt has qualified for four of the last five FIFA U-20 World Cups, playing in every single edition since 2001 except in 2007.
That impressive track record has proven the sophistication of the youth development programmes in the North African country, having played a total of six tournaments since their first appearance in Australia in 1981, exactly 30 years ago.
To add to that amazing feat, only twice when featuring have they not been able to progress to the knockout phase with their best showing came in Argentina in 1991, where they finished third.
Although this a very talented side, one which many believed to have played the best football at the African Youth Championships earlier this year, they have had some anxious moments during qualifying.
After suffering defeat to Mali, 1-0, in the first round, they needed to beat hosts South Africa in a winner-takes-all game. They managed an unconvincing 1-0 victory but a win is a win and they managed to qualify.
Despite being the better team for most of the match in the semi-finals against Cameroon, they were unable to put their chances away and eventually went out after a penalty shout-out. There were protests over a pair of penalties that were re-taken during the shoot-out but were able to finish on a high, beating Mali 1-0 to finish third.
A more clinical showing in Colombia can make this team a surprise package being regarded the underdogs.