Egypt has been drawn in Group A to face hosts Russia, Red Sea neighbors Saudi Arabia, and former World Cup winners Uruguay at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals next summer.
The Pharaohs will open their first World Cup campaign since 1990 against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg on June 19.
Egypt then travel to Saint Petersburg to take on the hosts four days later.
Egypt’s group stage concludes on June 25 in Volgograd against Saudi Arabia.
On paper, the group would appear to be one of the least difficult of the competition, but there are caveats.
Host nations typically do well enough to make it out of the group stage. In fact, the only host nation that ever failed to qualify from the group stage was South Africa in 2010.
The last time Saudi Arabia and Egypt were drawn into the same group in a FIFA tournament was in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico.
Despite two spirited performances that included draws against Mexico and Bolivia, Egypt succumbed to a 5-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia in a match that featured three red cards for the Pharaohs.
Current first-choice goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary tended Egypt’s net that day.
Immediately following the draw, Argentinian media asked Egypt manager Héctor Cúper what people will find in the Pharaohs.
“You will find a difficult team,” Cúper said.
“We don’t care about entertaining people. We came here to win.”
Egypt, meanwhile, has never beaten the ‘A’ teams of Uruguay or Russia.
Egypt will have to do more traveling than any other team in Group A, with a total tally exceeding 2,000 miles.
Saudi Arabia travels the least at just over 800 miles.
2018 FIFA World Cup draw results