Friday, June 15 will be a monumental day for Mohamed Elneny.
For the first time in 28 years, Egypt will feature in a World Cup when they take on Uruguay in their Group A opener at Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg.
Elneny was a key figure in the Pharaohs’ qualifying campaign and is proud of what he has achieved with his country, even before the tournament begins.
“The night before the Congo game, I was dreaming all night,” the 25-year-old told Arsenal Player. “I was dreaming about the referee’s whistle and being in the World Cup. I think this was a dream for everybody in Egypt.
“When we were awarded a penalty, everyone was so happy. It was almost as if we’d qualified already but of course it’s a 50/50. At the same time, everybody was celebrating already but we hadn’t scored yet.
“When we did score and we’d won the game and I knew that we’d made it, then we could celebrate. I felt something that I’ve never experienced before. It was pure happiness. After all the hard work, we’d made that dream finally come true.
“In Egypt, football affects so many people,” Elneny added. “We’re told all the time that the relationship between the people and football affects our economy and our overall mood. It affects every household, rich and poor.
“When the national team wins, everyone is happy and productive, but when we lose the opposite happens. At the moment the mood is great and looking back on it all, I have to say that I’m delighted and proud to have qualified for the World Cup, and also of everything we’ve achieved so far.”
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