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World Teams Marseille

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FINAL
[1] Egypt 2-0 [2] England

Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Nick Matthew  11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (34m)
Ali Farag 3-0 James Willstrop               11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (36m)
Marwan Elshorbagy v Daryl Selby

HISTORY

England reached the final for the ninth time since 1983 in comfortable style and presented a line-up for the final boasting three players with more than 300 international caps between them - probably the most experienced team ever to represent the country in the 50 years of the tournament!

By contrast the four-man Egyptian squad only included one player who had ever competed in the championship before - yet the three-man team in the final all had rankings within the world top five!

NICK ON ONE LEG

With the agreed playing order being 1, 2, 3, title-holders England presented three-time world champion Nick Matthew, the 37-year-old world No.6 appearing in the event for the seventh time since 2003, to face 26-year-old world No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad, a championship debutant.

Matthew was clearly not the player who despatched Australian number one Ryan Cuskelly in straight games just 24 hours earlier. The Yorkshireman was forced to take a three-minute 'self-inflicted injury break' midway through the second game - and it later transpired that he had suffered a minor recurrence of his old ankle injury during the warm-up for the match.

After just 34 minutes, Egypt took the lead when Gawad claimed an 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 victory.

ALI FLYING

Egyptian number two Ali Farag was also making his debut in the final - while English opponent James Willstrop was not only celebrating his fifth successive World Team Championship battle against an Egyptian opponent since 2003, but also his 156th cap for his country.

Former world number one Willstrop, 34, did what he could to keep his 24-year-old opponent at bay.

But Farag was clearly on a mission and after 36 minutes clasped his face in his hands as he celebrated his championship-winning 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 triumph.

"The word big is an understatement - it is much bigger than big!

"I felt I had the whole Egyptian squash community on my shoulders. I wanted to make them proud.

"Four years ago, I was still at college. I remember watching the final - it was a dream of mine to wear the Egyptian shirt.

"Winning the US Open with my wife Nour was very special, of course - but, because this was for Egypt, I can say it is the highlight of my career."

"It says a lot about how much he values the team that Ramy, our captain, was happy to leave the team selection to our coach and not play tonight.

"We will celebrate for just tonight then get back to work to prepare for next week's PSA World Championship."

"It was in January 2015 that I was told I needed surgery on my ankle - as a result of which I changed my whole life around: I changed everything on the back of that - my training, my diet, my playing.

"The way I played in the semis against Australia was some of the best squash I've played this season. But I felt a twinge during the warm up. The manner of my defeat gave them the momentum going into the second match.

"But I don't want to overshadow their dominant form tonight.

"They were quality opponents tonight - especially Ali against James.

"We knew we had the experience and we hoped that would carry us through, but I didn't quite get into the match.

"We felt we had more to give. We were playing guys at the pinnacle of their careers. We wanted to push them to their absolute limits - we knew we had the best opportunity now before they dominate for perhaps the next decade.

"But we're proud that we are still second best in the world."

Nick Matthew

I'm sorry for Nick, it's such bad luck as he got injured in the warm up. I just hope it's not too serious just before the World Open.

Nick is such a great ambassador for our sport, he was playing on the tour for about 10 years before I came on the Tour, I'm not saying he is old!!! I'm saying he's got a great experience and it was very tough always to play him.

"I am very proud of the Team and proud of the way we handled and managed every match.

"I loved the team spirit and it feels amazing to be the world champions and bring the title back to Egypt ...


Team Captain

Saturday 2nd December

[1] Egypt 2-0 [5] Hong Kong

Marwan ElShorbagy
3-1 Tsz Fung Yip Scores: 11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 (39m)
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 Max Lee        11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7 (67m)
Ali Farag v Leo Au

It was tough. I mean, it was really really tough.

The team order was 3 1 2. And we started with Marwan. At 1/1, it was tight of course, but Marwan delivered, he just stayed focused, and played very serious accurate squash. He did it, and beat Yip.

But the match between Karim and Max was even tighter. It wasn't easy in any way, shape or form, it was a good test for us. Hong Kong proved today that yesterday was no fluke, that they deserved to beat France: they are good athletes, they made some unbelievable pick up, again and again, long rallies, it was hard.

We didn't play the last match, Ali was not keen to play, so we did a practice.

A good night of rest now, then practice at 9am, then a last meeting where we will decide the best team to play in the final Inshallah. England is England! All three players are very experienced. We have to prepare ourselves for them! I hope we will get revenge for our defeat in 2013.


 

It feels amazing.

It's always very important to take a good start, so I'm really happy to get a good start for the team. Hopefully, Karim can take the next point and win his match.

Yip played a great match against Castagnet yesterday, so I was mentally very prepared, our coach Ashraf Hanafi prepared me very well mentally for the match.

It's amazing, we have the whole support of the federation here, it's amazing for us, and hopefully we can bring the title to Egypt

Of course, that was far from easy.

I have played with Max the firs time in Qatar the Worlds in 2014, he beat me there, then we played two more times I won but, each time, it was a big battle, 3/1, 3/2. It's not an easy game playing against Max. Plus the presure...

Hong Kong had a great result yesterday, they played really well, so it was a very big test for us today. We are really happy to qualify for the final and I'm very glad I won today.

QUARTERS

Friday 1st December

[1] Egypt 3-0 [10] Scotland

Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Alan Clyne 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (34m)
Ramy Ashour 3-0 Kevin Moran        11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (24m)
Marwan Elshorbagy 2-0 Greg Lobban      11-7, 11-8 (25m)

We are doing well, and we are feeling good. Today, after the Scotland match, I did a very long training session with Ali on the glass court as he didn't play in the Scotland match.

All the players are ready for the match tomorrow, and we were watching the quarters between France and Hong Kong. That was a surprise, and we will think and prepare our team for tomorrow.

The atmosphere is good and they are fine, we are ready.

A dramatic quarter-final day in Marseille, although it started calmly enough as top seeds Egypt and England won through to the semi-finals with 3-0 wins.

The drama came in the evening as fourth seeds Australia came from a match down to deny neighbours New Zealand, while Hong Kong were busy pulling off the upset of all upsets, coming from a match down to beat France in their own backyard

Karim Abdel Gawad
gave top seeds Egypt the lead as he took three well-contested games against Alan Clyne. The Scot battled back from 6-10 down in the first before Gawad took the lead 12-10, and was in contention up to 6-all in the next two games before the Egyptian accelerated away.

"It was important to get the win to put the team ahead," said Gawad, "you can't afford to drop concentration against Alan, like you saw in the first he'll always come back given the chance. Glad to get through and hopefully the team can win ..."

In a similar fashion to England's match, the match war wrapped up quickly as Ramy Ashour raced through the first game then held off Kevin Moran's improvement.

"We've been taking this seriously from the first day," said Ashour, "we have a great squad, great team management and great team spirit. There's pressure, yes, but we're enjoying it and looking to go through to the final."

POOLS

 

Thursday 30th November

[1] Egypt 3-0 [15] Finland

Ali Farag
3-0 Jami Aijanen                        11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (25m)
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 Miko Aijanen  6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (41m)
Marwan Elshorbagy 2-0 Matias Tuomi               11-6, 11-3 (16m)

Tuesday 28th November

Group A: Egypt v Switzerland (GC)
Ali Farag 3-1 Dimitri Steinmann 11-3, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7 (36m)
Ramy Ashour 3-0 Roman Allinckx       11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (21m)
Marwan Elshorbagy 3-0 Reiko Peter  12-10, 11-5, 11-5 (28m)

Wednesday 29th November
Rest day

Monday 27th November

Group A:
Egypt 3-0 Pakistan

Marwan Elshorbagy
3-0 Ammad Fareed   11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
Ali Farag 3-0 Shahjahan Khan 11-3, 11-4, 11-9 (30m)
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 Farhan Zaman 11-7, 13-11, 7-11, 11-4 (29m)

"We would have preferred to play opponents like Pakistan in the second match - it's a pity that such a great squash battle happened on the first day. We don't know their players - but we knew they'd be dangerous. It was a tough draw for Pakistan.

"The most important thing for us is the team spirit - I know we have a lot of stars in our team, and it's important to respect that," added the former British Open O35 champion.

"We lost our title four years ago and we want to win it back."


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