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FIVB Men's World Cup 2007
 
Match Description
 
Egypt edge rivals Tunisia in four sets
 

Egyptian Mohamed Badawy blocks against Tunisia
Tokyo, Japan, December 1, 2007 -- Egypt won Saturday's battle of North Africa at Komazawa Gymnasium with a 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22 World Cup victory over Tunisia.
It was a big match for both teams, not least because they were both struggling with identical 1-8 records in the tournament. But also North African pride was at stake, with African champions Egypt maintaining their recent form over their archrivals, who were runners-up in the African Championship.
Egypt had four players in double figures and were led by Mohamed Badawy with 16 points, followed by Ahmed Abd Elnaeim with 14 and captain Hamdy Awad with 13.
Tunisia's big gun Hichem Kaabi again came up big, scoring 24 of his team's 89 points, while Noureddine Hfaiedh came up with 13.
Egypt took the upper hand in the first few points thanks to a netted first serve by Hfaiedh and two fabulous blocks by Egypt on Kaabi and Hfaiedh. But a few points later, the Tunisians were even at 4-4 after a thunderous spike by Kaabi. From 4-4, the teams were hard to separate. Kaabi sent down some massive blows on good sets by Ghazi Guidara, but Hossam Shaarawy mixed up some good attacking and defensive skills to keep Egypt rolling along. Shaarawy managed to briefly put Egypt two points up at 11-9 with a brilliant block on Kaabi, but Tunisia again levelled the scores and it was still tied at 13-13. A nice tip by Abdalla Ahmed gave Egypt a 14-13 lead and they were never behind again in the set. Kaabi kept Tunisia close with a couple of fine spikes that pulled the score back to 18-17, but two big blows by Hamdy Awad finally put the Egyptians in the clear. Ahmed Abd Elnaeim spiked Egypt to setpoint and a nice hit by Mohamed Badawy ended the set.
Things couldn't have been much different in the second set as Egypt's game fell apart. Hfaiedh sent down two big blows as Tunisia rushed into a 6-2 lead, forcing coach Zakaria Ahmed to call an early timeout. But it didn't change things. In fact, things got worse. At 9-3, the Egyptians sent four consecutive serves long as Tunisia strolled to a 16-7 lead at the second technical timeout. At 19-8, Egypt finally started to fight back behind the efforts of captain Awad and Saleh Youssef. But Kaabi righted the Tunisian ship with two scorchers that put his team up 23-16. Hfaiedh claimed setpoint with a spike and a wide serve by Mohamed Elnafawy put the two teams level at one set each.
Egypt reversed course at the start of the third set and claimed an early advantage over Tunisia, thanks initially to two unstoppable megaserves from Abdalla Ahmed and great blocking by Abd Elnaeim and Elnafrawy that took the score to 6-1. But four errors by the Egyptians allowed Tunisia back into the set and the scores were tied at 10. Egypt again edged ahead, but they couldn't keep the Tunisians off their backs. A long serve by Ahmed put the TUnisians in the lead at 20-19, but it wouldn't last as a wide spike by Kaabi and decent hits by Abd Elnaeim and Mohamed Badawy put the Egyptians in control again. A towering block by Abd Elnaeim on the big-hitting Kaabi gave Egypt setpoint and a booming serve by Mohamed Gabal put Egypt 2-1 up.
Two big blocks by Shaarawy early in the fourth set helped Egypt to an 8-5 advantage at the first technical timeout, but a good spike by Kaabi and a boomer by Hosni Karamosly kept Tunisia close. Two more spikes by Kaabi saw the Tunisians draw level at 11-11 but three massive bombs by Badawy gave Egypt a 16-14 lead at the second TTO. Kaabi pulled the Tunisians level again at 18, but Tunisia's big gun then mis-hit a spike long and was blocked by Badawy, handing the advantage back to Egypt. At 23-21, Abd Elnaeim hit the softest of serves that was completely misread by the Tunisians and that brought matchpoint, which Shaarawy converted with a thumping blow.