Egypt in in: "Tears were rolling from the eyes of everyone; the players, the staff on the bench, the security officers,"

Salah does it for Egypt and they are through to their first World Cup finals in 27 years. Egypt manager Héctor Cúper had already been taking medication for high blood pressure to deal with the stress before the game.


Now, with just 60 seconds of added time remaining, the Liverpool star stepped up to take the penalty that could make or break his country's World Cup dream.
    Time seemed to slow as Egypt's 27-year wait to reach football's showpiece event came down to a single left-footed strike.
    But Salah calmly put the ball into the bottom right corner, at last, Cúper could relax -- the Pharaohs had qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since Italia '90, topping Group E ahead of Uganda, Ghana and Congo with a game to spare.
    Overcome by emotion, stadium announcer Inas Mazhar remained silent after Salah's goal.
    "Tears were rolling from the eyes of everyone; the players, the staff on the bench, the security officers," Mazhar tells CNN.
    "This means so much for Egypt. We are making history."
    "This is an incredible achievement," says author James Montague, who has traveled the globe documenting football's intersection with politics.
    "Egypt haven't gone to a World Cup since 1990 and it has been a source of national shame that the Pharaohs had not qualified despite being arguably being the best team in Africa over much of the past decade."
    Making it to the World Cup finals is a major accomplishment for a country domestic seasons were canceled following the Port Said stadium disaster and the 2013 coup d'etat.
    Indeed, Egypt were competing at this year's African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time since 2011's Arab Spring swept across the Middle East and North Africa.
    Montague added:
    "As the country struggled with the revolution's aftermath, we had the Port Said tragedy, the league was canceled, fans were banned from national team games. It was almost as if they would never make it. And then Mohammed Salah stepped up ..."
    An estimated crowd of 90,000 supporters crammed into the Borg El-Arab Stadium near the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria for Sunday's match. Salah's parents even hired a bus to take people from his home town of Basyoun and of course millions more watched in expectation at home.
    For goalkeeper and captain Essam El-Hadary, the Pharaohs' wait to reach the World Cup has been source of particular torment.
    When El-Hadary made his international debut in 1996, a number of his current teammates weren't even born.
    The 44-year-old has represented his country more than 150 times -- only Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, Spain's Iker Casillas and Mohamed Al-Deayea of Saudi Arabia have played more international games between the sticks -- that is some pretty esteemed company.
    "I won 37 trophies and I enjoyed some remarkable moments," El-Hadary told "The only thing missing for me is a World Cup appearance.
    "I've always been very determined and persistent to carry on playing; this is my character. During my time at Al Ahly, (current Egypt goalkeeping coach) Ahmed Nagui told me I would stop playing after the age of 50.
    "The fact that I still have a chance to play at the World Cup makes me even more motivated to continue playing to realize this dream."
    Should El-Hadary be selected by Cúper at Russia 2018, he will be 45 years old and the oldest player in World Cup history.
    We want to send a huge congratulations to the team and the Egyptian people, it is great to have them back in the World Cup. Although it's not guaranteed, show me one person that does not want to see El-Hadary picked for the roster? He has served his country well in bad times and now hopefully in good.

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