JOHANNESBURG - Egypt's coach Hassan Shehata and his players hailed Thursday's win over Italy in the Confederations Cup as a proud achievement and have set their sights on the tournament's semi-finals. "This is a great result," Shehata told Reuters after an emotional night for the Egyptians, whose 1-0 victory over the world champions is their best ever result. "We had a good game against Brazil technically but the result did not go our way. But this gives us great hope for the semi-finals," he added. "It was a great feeling, a fantastic victory and we are very proud," said striker Mohamed Zidan, who went off with a hamstring injury and said he was unsure of playing in the final Group B match against the United States on Sunday. "We have realised that we have to stand up together to show some good performances," added Zidan, who scored twice against Brazil in the 4-3 loss in the opening group game on Monday. Defender Wael Gomaa said it was a thrill to beat a team of Italy's quality after a first-half goal by Mohamed Hommos. "They were very strong with top players from Serie A and we are really happy about the victory. We know we will need to work hard to beat the U.S. and qualify for the next phase." Gomaa, a long-standing member of Egypt's African Nations Cup-winning teams, added it had been a memorable night for his country. Egypt had lost all four previous encounters with Italy, who had never before been beaten by African opponents in 14 previous matches. Winger Ahmed Fathi, who had a brief spell at English club Sheffield United, said of the Italians: "They are a big team but all our players gave a lot of effort on the pitch. The Americans will be difficult but we have to win it to go through." All four sides in Group B can still reach the last four. Brazil are top with six points, followed by Italy and Egypt on three each. The U.S. have lost their two matches but could still go through if Brazil beat Italy in Pretoria on Sunday and the Americans win handsomely against the African champions.
19 June 2009
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