Egypt is the new WSF World Team Champions after defeating England in the final played on Sunday in Marseille.
With four of the world’s top 11 players making up their squad, Egypt was always hot favourites to lift their fourth title but the ease with which they did so against England was a surprise. England, The defending champions, proved no match for a power-packed Egyptian line-up as Karim Abdel Gawad and Ali Farag delivered the wins to give their team a decisive 2-0 lead.
World champion Karim Abdel Gawad started the proceedings for the top seeds against Nick Matthew, the 37-year-old world No.6 appearing in the event for the seventh time since 2003, who was struggling with a hamstring injury. Gawad was at his level best and never allowed Matthew any chance to show his power and won the first game 11-9. He took the second game 11-3 and soon it was all over as Gawad wrapped up the match by winning the third game 11-7 in 34 minutes. Egypt was enjoying massive crowd support, unlike in the semifinals the other day, when Hong Kong was enjoying all-out backing of the spectators.
This result put the pressure on James Willstrop, who knew he had to win against Ali Farag to keep his side in the contest. Farag started very brightly and used his youthfulness to his advantage against his older opponent, winning the first game 11-5. Willstrop managed to find a bit of resilience in the second game but eventually made too many unforced errors, handing the game to Farag by an 11-9 score. The 34-year-old was clearly tired in the third game after his efforts in the second and was no match for Farag who secured Egypt the title with an 11-5 victory.
The victories for the Egyptian top two left Marwan ElShorbagy and Daryl Selby facing a dead rubber with the pair not required to take to the court. With no third-place match played, Hong Kong and Australia shared the bronze medal following their losses at the semi-final stage.
Congratulations to the extraordinary Egyptian squash team and we wish them all the luck in gathering more titles in the years to come!