For the third time in a row, the two squash powerhouses will clash in the Men's World Team Championship final (4pm). Egypt may be slight favourites based on current form – three of their players are in the world top 5 – but England have a wealth of experience, his trio having won seven MWTC titles in total. Take your pick ...
By Jérôme Elhaïk
Pictures by Philippe Rochais Nathalie Goossens
How they got to the finals
They were the top 2 seeds and they've shown why this week: although some of their top players were pushed at times, England and Egypt haven't lost a single match so far. After cruising through their first four ties, Egypt was challenged by a remarkable Hong Kong team yesterday, but Marwan El Shorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad were able to raise their game when they needed to. As far as England goes, Nick Matthew was taken to five games by Nicolas Mueller and Saurav Ghosal, but the “Wolf” was clinical to dispatch Australia's Ryan Cuskelly – understandably tired after his marathon match against Paul Coll a few hours earlier – in the semis.
Egypt and England got to the final without losing a single match
England and Egypt have clashed 12 times in 17 events since 1981 (Great Britain was playing before that). England is 9-3 up in the H2H, and the last three meetings were MWTC finals! Including the last two: Egypt won in 2011 Germany, but England got their revenge in France in 2013. Four players who will be featuring this afternoon played both: the experienced English trio (Matthew, Willstrop, Selby) as well as Ramy Ashour.
England and Egypt had already met in the MWTC final four years ago (Photo credit: SquashSite)
Egypt had a slight edge in terms of preparing the final: they knew what team their rivals were going to field, while England probably had to wait ... All the squash world wanted to know whether Ramy Ashour would play in the final and the answer is NO. Here are all the head-to-heads (Source: Squashinfo).
#1: Karim Abdel Gawad v Nick Matthew: 2-3 – Matthew won the first three, including a gigantic at the 2016 US Open but Gawad has turned the tables since then but in particular circumstances. Matthew was presumably sick last year at the World Championship, and their last match was best of 3 in Dubai.
#2: Ali Farag v James Willstrop: 1-1 – both matches are recent. Farag won in 5 games at the 2016 World Championship, and the “Marksman” got his revenge in the World Series Finals, after a high quality match.
#3: Marwan El Shorbagy v Daryl Selby: 3-1 – The younger of the Shorbagy brothers won their last two encounters
Read the presentations of the two teams (before the competition)