Sunday 17 December 2017

Kevin Moran exclusive: I was astonished by Egypt's range of skills and technical awareness

Kevin Moran representing the Republic of Ireland
Kevin Moran representing the Republic of Ireland


EGYPT may have done us all a favour by exploding the myth that there are just three serious teams in Group F of this World Cup.

I thought they gave a hell of a performance against the Dutch, one that emphatically established their credibility at this level.

Any member of the Irish squad who claims that the Egyptians did not surprise us is guilty of dishonesty. Frankly, I was astonished at their range of skills and technical awareness.

And yet, in a sense, Tuesday's result should not have been considered that amazing.

Look at it this way. Of the 24 teams playing in the tournament, I believe Egypt are probably the best prepared of all.

They have been together now for four months, played 16 preparatory games and — most significantly — played almost all of them away from home.

You know, it is all very well for us to talk about our own build-up. But I think it is too easy to get a false impression from some of the results we achieve at Lansdowne Road.

No, what Egypt have achieved in recent weeks has been hugely impressive. Tuesday's game merely emphasised the point. That said, it was certainly one of the poorest Dutch performances I can recall.

They were dictated to from start to finish in a manner I could never envisage happening a team managed by Jack Charlton. Looking at the Dutch, it was tempting to wonder if the recent managerial controversy has, perhaps, undermined their spirit. We will be a good deal wiser on that point after tonight's game against England. A game, incidentally, on which I wouldn't dare venture a prediction.

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