Egypt 1-0 Italy
By Phil Dawkes
Egypt gave themselves a good chance of qualifying for the Confederations Cup semi-finals with a surprising but merited win over world champions Italy.
Mohamed Homos scored the only goal, rising to meet a well-delivered corner to direct a header in off the far post.
Despite not creating many clear-cut chances Egypt matched the Italians for work-rate and application.
Vincenzo Iaquinta struck the bar late on for Italy and Egypt keeper Essam El Hadari made a string of good saves.
After the embarrassingly one-sided earlier Group B contest between Brazil and USA, this was a much more evenly contested affair between two sides who came into the match having both scored three in their opening games of the competition.
Italy made significant changes to their attacking line with young striker Giuseppe Rossi – scorer of two goals against USA after coming on as a substitute – and Vincenzo Iaquinta starting in place of regular strikers Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino.
Rossi almost made the most of his chance early on when a poor defensive clearance gave him the opportunity to shoot but he struck it over the crossbar from 15 yards and he was then denied by a one-handed tip-over from El Hadari.
Without creating too much of substance, Egypt took the game to the Italians and were rewarded five minutes before half-time when they scored from their fist meaningful chance.
After forcing a corner via a tip-over from Gianluigi Buffon, the ball was swung over and met by the unmarked Homos, whose header clipped the inside of the far post before going in.
Italy pushed for an equaliser in the second half, but they found El Hadari in inspired form.
He saved superbly three times from Iaquinta and produced a magnificent block from a first-time, close range shot from substitute Riccardo Montolivo, after he had been found by a cut-back from fellow replacement Luca Toni.
With five minutes remaining, Iaquinta found space on the right and produced a shot which left El Hadari stranded but which struck the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
After failing with his attacking experiment, the pressure will be on Italy coach Marcello Lippi to provide a more efficient forward line in their now vital remaining game against Brazil.
Egypt’s victory means that Group B remains wide-open going into the final round of fixtures on Sunday.
Egypt: El Hadari, Said, Fathi (Hassan 81), Said Ahmed, Gomaa, Moawad (Farag 70), Shawky, Homos, Abd Rabou, Aboutreika, Zidan (Eid 58).
Subs Not Used: El Sayed, Sobhy, El Mohamady, Raouf, Fathallah, Khairy, Tawfik, Abdel-Ghani, Abu Greisha.
Booked: Eid, El Hadari, Gomaa.
Goals: Homos 40.
Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso, De Rossi, Gattuso (Montolivo 59), Pirlo, Quagliarella (Pepe 66), Rossi (Toni 59), Iaquinta.
Subs Not Used: De Sanctis, Amelia, Dossena, Santon, Legrottaglie, Gamberini, Camoranesi, Palombo, Gilardino.