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Libya and Egypt qualify for Brazil Futsal
Wednesday, 02 April 2008 00:00

Libya and Egypt will travel to Brazil as Africa's representatives at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008

Libya and Egypt will travel to Brazil as Africa's representatives at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008.

Both teams came through the group phase of the African qualifying tournament in Libyan capital Tripoli undefeated and emerged victorious from their semi-final showdowns with Mozambique and Morocco.

The final itself brought a fittingly dramatic and thrilling conclusion to the tournament as the hosts established and then lost a three-goal lead only for Abdel Rahim Rabie to score Libya's winner in the second half of extra time. Rabie said afterwards: "I am very happy that my goal won the game for us. All eyes were on us and we lived up to expectation."

The hosts breezed past Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and Cameroon to top Group A with a perfect record, before defeating Mozambique 4-1 in the semi-finals to book their first-ever trip to the global futsal showdown.

Egypt sealed a fourth consecutive FIFA Futsal World Cup appearance by the same score. Following draws with Mozambique and Angola at the group stage, the North Africans banished any lingering doubts over their pedigree with a 4-1 victory over Morocco.

The match for third place, meanwhile, brought some consolation for Morocco in the shape of a 3-1 win over Mozambique. "This was a great game as both countries play futsal in their respective countries, but I think my decision to introduce substitute goalkeeper Talhaoui Morad won the game for us," the Moroccan coach reflected. "I am very proud of my young team. At least we're going back with something."

The FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008 takes place from 30 September to 19 October in Brazil. For the first time, the finals feature a starting field of 20, drawn from the FIFA Confederations as follows: AFC: 4, CAF: 2, CONCACAF: 3, CONMEBOL: 3 + host nation, OFC: 1, UEFA: 6. The Final Draw takes place on 6 July.