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Egypt paired with traditional rivals Algeria in FIFA Arab Cup
Published in Ahram Online on 27 - 04 - 2021

Egypt were paired with North African rivals Algeria in Group D of the newly-inaugurated FIFA Arab Cup after the draw was made in Katara Opera House in Qatari capital Doha on Tuesday.
The Pharaohs will also face the winners of Lebanon v Djibouti and Sudan v Libya, with the four teams contesting a qualifying round.
The inaugural edition of the tournament was described by FIFA president Gianni Infantino as a "historic event."
The Arab Cup comprises 23 Arab nations, including several North African and Asian heavyweights such as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
The tournament, which will run from 1-18 December, is seen as a dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup finals, which will be also hosted by Qatar.
The nine highest-ranked teams were automatically given group-stage spots. They will be joined by the seven winners of the qualifying stage. The top two in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.
Although the Arab Cup will add to an already hectic schedule for Egypt's national team and lead to an expected stoppage of domestic football, it will also come as an ideal preparation for the African Cup of Nations, which will take place in January next year.
Egyptian football officials admitted the team will have to do without their foreign-based players though, including Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah, Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Galatasaray striker Mostafa Mohamed.
European clubs are highly unlikely to allow their players to feature in the Arab Cup, which falls outside of the normal international calendar.
Egypt and Algeria have a long history of football rivalry. Their previous two meetings were heated, with Algeria beating Egypt 1-0 in a World Cup qualifying playoff in late 2009 and the Pharaohs exacting revenge with a 4-0 victory in the Nations Cup semis a few months later.

The FIFA Arab Cup 2021 draw
Group A
Group B
United Arab Emirates
Group C
Saudi Arabia
Jordan/South Sudan
Group D
Q1: Oman v Somalia
Q2: Lebanon v Djibouti
Q3: Jordan v South Sudan
Q4: Bahrain v Kuwait
Q5: Mauritania v Yemen
Q6: Palestine v Comoros
Q7: Libya v Sudan
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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