Egypt have had their fair share of near-misses and heartbreak when it comes to World Cup qualifying in recent years, so when Congo pegged them back after they’d taken a 1-0 lead, nerves on the pitch and off it would have been frayed.
But Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who had scored Egypt’s opener, coolly slotted home an injury-time penalty to send fans wild and end his nation’s long wait for a World Cup, with Egypt last appearing in the showpiece event in 1990.
Here’s the best of the reaction on Twitter.
Congratulations, 🇪🇬Egypt! 👏
Welcome back to the #WorldCup finals and see you in 🇷🇺Russia! #WCQ pic.twitter.com/NMwoR6qMSg
— #WCQ ⚽️🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) October 8, 2017
Two goals from @22mosalah – one a 95th-minute penalty – helped secure World Cup qualification for Egypt tonight!
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 8, 2017
That feeling when you help your country qualify for their first @FIFAWorldCup since 1990 🙌
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) October 8, 2017
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) October 8, 2017
— FC Basel 1893 EN (@FC_Basel_en) October 8, 2017
— Sport360° (@Sport360) October 8, 2017
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) October 8, 2017
For 28yrs Egypt failed to qualify for the World cup. Then Wenger signed Mohammed Elneny the Egyptian Pirlo and the rest is “Thanks Allah”.
— Danny Welbeck (@WelBeast) October 8, 2017
Impossible not to get chills listening to the commentary of Mohamed Salah’s game-winning penalty that sent Egypt to the 2018 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/YFquwbgCpB
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) October 8, 2017
Salah contributed in Egypt’s ALL 7 goals in the World Cup qualifications. 5 goals and 2 assists. Egypt’s hero in every sense of the word.
— andrew. (@itsnotJesusXO) October 8, 2017
— Karim Abdelrahman (@K_Abdelrahman13) October 8, 2017
Nothing but respect for Egypt’s new president! pic.twitter.com/u47S21ZR9w
— Dena Khalafallah (@DenaKhalafallah) October 8, 2017
Imagine taking a penalty – in the 95th min – which could end a 28 year wait for your football mad nation?
— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) October 8, 2017
You’ll will never understand how much this means to my beautiful country Egypt. So proud right now 🇪🇬❤️
— Fady Elsayed (@iFadyElsayed) October 8, 2017
44 year-old Essam El-Hadary is finally going to a World Cup.
— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) October 8, 2017
no, egypt just scored https://t.co/9Q2R3N7OTj
— looka🍓 (@lukaux) October 8, 2017
Salah has sent Egypt into full-on Delerium pic.twitter.com/xazIxv7GhR
— Ismail Salameh (@saliday) October 8, 2017
This win for Egypt is so much bigger than just soccer. To have success in the midst of economic turmoil and terrorism for once is huge
— Ameer (@belwrem) October 8, 2017
fireworks going off, horns honking, ppl running through the streets screaming egypt is lit rn 🔥
— heidi (@pathetiqlly) October 8, 2017
Huge credit to Egypt for braving the pressure. Just as for Nigeria vs Zambia, these deciders are never easy, even vs “weaker” opposition.
— Solace Chukwu (@TheOddSolace) October 8, 2017
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, took to Twitter to congratulate Egypt on their 2018 World Cup qualification.
The African nation completed the feat in dramatic fashion as Mohamed Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty to seal a 2-1 win and book his side’s trip to Russia next summer.
The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates expressed his delight for the Arab nation on the popular social media network.
مبروك يا مصر .. ومبروك لكل العرب .. صعود المنتخب لكأس العالم .. ليلة عربية جميلة .. أفرحتم قلوبنا من المحيط للخليج.. كبيرة يا مصر دايماً pic.twitter.com/s4ilYFeM4f
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) October 8, 2017
“Congratulations, Egypt & congratulations to all Arabs,” he tweeted.
“Qualifying to the World Cup. A beautiful Arabian night. You brought happiness to our hearts from the Gulf to the Ocean. Egypt, you are always grand.”
It’s been 27 years since Egypt’s last appearance in a World Cup.
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty to give Egypt a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo Brazzaville Sunday and a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Salah put Egypt ahead during the second half in Alexandria only for Arnold Bouka Moutou to equalise two minutes from the end of regular time.
Victory gave Egypt an uncatchable four-point lead over Uganda in Group E with one round of fixtures remaining.
Uganda were held 0-0 by Ghana in Kampala Saturday.
Egypt last qualified for the World Cup in 1990 with the record seven-time African champions suffering numerous heart-breaking failures since.
The desperation to qualify was so great ahead of the Congo match that Argentina-born Egypt coach Hector Cuper admitted he was taking medication for high blood pressure.
“I am taking hypertension medicine due to the stress I suffer from continuing criticism,” he told reporters without specifying who his critics were.
“Life is full of stress, but the challenge of reaching the World Cup is the toughest stress I have faced.”
Egypt also beat Congo away and Ghana and Uganda at home to accumulate 12 points, with the only loss away to Uganda.