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Egypt celebrate their World Team Championship victory

Egypt crowned World Team Champions after defeating title-holders England

Egypt are the new WSF World Team Champions after defeating England in the final in Marseille.

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 Gawad was first up against England's Nick Matthew and triumphed 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 in 34 minutes with 'The Wolf' seemingly hampered by an apparent injury.

The pair were followed onto court by new US Open champion Farag who proved too strong on the day for England No2 James Willstrop, winning 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 in 36 minutes.

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.

England presented three-time world champion Matthew, the 37-year-old world No.6 appearing in the event for the seventh time since 2003, to face 26-year-old Gawad, a championship debutant.

Matthew was clearly not the player who despatched Australian number one Ryan Cuskelly in straight games just 24 hours earlier. The Yorkshireman was forced to take a three-minute 'self-inflicted injury break' midway through the second game – and it later transpired that he had suffered a minor recurrence of his old ankle injury during the warm-up for the match.

After just 34 minutes, Egypt took the lead when Gawad claimed an 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 victory.

Egyptian number two Farag was also making his debut in the final – while English opponent James Willstrop was not only celebrating his fifth successive World Team Championship battle against an Egyptian opponent since 2003, but also his 156th cap for his country.

Former world number one Willstrop, 34, did what he could to keep his 24-year-old opponent at bay – but Farag was clearly on a mission and after 36 minutes clasped his face in his hands as he celebrated his championship-winning 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 triumph.

“The word big is an understatement – it is much bigger than big!” gushed Farag when asked to comment on the significance of the win.

“I felt I had the whole Egyptian squash community on my shoulders. I wanted to make them proud.

“Four years ago, I was still at college. I remember watching the final – it was a dream of mine to wear the Egyptian shirt.

“Winning the US Open with my wife Nour (El Tayeb) was very special, of course – but, because this was for Egypt, I can say it is the highlight of my career.”

When it was pointed out that Egypt had the luxury of not playing their fourth string Ramy Ashour, one of the sport's greatest names and a three-time world champion, Farag said: “It says a lot about how much he values the team that Ramy, our captain, was happy to leave the team selection to our coach and not play tonight.

“We will celebrate for just tonight then get back to work to prepare for next week's AJ Bell PSA World Championship.”

Joy for Ali Farag as he defeats James Willstrop to win the title for Egypt

Ashraf Hanafi, the recently-appointed Egyptian national coach, added: “The most important thing is that we have got the title back. I am very happy to be their coach.”

Matthew had much praise for England's successors: “They were quality opponents tonight – especially Ali against James.

“We knew we had the experience and we hoped that would carry us through, but I didn't quite get into the match.

“We felt we had more to give. We were playing guys at the pinnacle of their careers. We wanted to push them to their absolute limits – we knew we had the best opportunity now before they dominate for perhaps the next decade.

“But we're proud that we are still second best in the world.”

On his injury, Matthew explained: “It was in January 2015 that I was told I needed surgery on my ankle – as a result of which I changed my whole life around: I changed everything on the back of that – my training, my diet, my playing.

“The way I played in the semis against Australia was some of the best squash I've played this season. But I felt a twinge during the warm up. The manner of my defeat gave them the momentum going into the second match.

“But I don't want to overshadow their dominant form tonight.”

Success in Marseille means that Egypt now have all the men's and women's, senior and junior, team and individual WSF and PSA world titles – with the exception of the Men's Junior World Team title held by Pakistan!

After their shock quarter-final exit to Hong Kong China, hosts France – the third seeds – beat New Zealand in the play-off for fifth place earlier today on the all-glass showcourt at Salle Vallier.

Third string Lucas Serme clinched victory in the decider, beating Kiwi Evan Williams (both pictured below).

“If someone had told me we'd be playing on finals day I would have been delighted,” said French national coach Renan Lavigne. “But not to play for fifth place!

“It's not we'd been working for. But I thought Hong Kong dealt with the situation on Friday better than we did and you have to hand that to them. My guys gave everything they had.

“The last two days have been the toughest for me over the past five years. We've been looking at everything, including what we need to do to improve.

“We deliberately rested Greg (Gaultier) today to give the rest of the team the responsibility, and they did what we wanted – and even though Marche lost, he showed great strength and got a bit of confidence back.

“Next week we can make amends in Manchester (at the PSA World Championship) – but as far as this event is concerned we will have to wait another two years. It's in Washington in the USA – and we will be there!”

One of the first positions to be decided amongst the 24 teams was the one for 23rd place – won in impressive style, against the odds, by Iraq, the 24th seeds making their debut in the event.

With 45-year-old Rodney Durbach in the squad, 22nd seeds South Africa ended up in a creditable 18th place after losing 2/0 to 18th seeds Argentina in the play-off for 17th place. Durbach, his country's most capped player, endured his third successive five-game battle, this time narrowly going down 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9.

Despite team number one Borja Golan being unavailable for the last three days due to injury, 12th seeds Spain ended in 11th place to record their highest finish ever in 13 appearances since 1985.

Scotland also achieved their best finish since 2003 after taking 8th place.

Results – WSF World Team Championship Final
[1] EGYPT bt [2] ENGLAND 2/0
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Nick Matthew (ENG) 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (34mins)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (36mins)
Bronze medallists: [4] AUSTRALIA & [5] HONG KONG CHINA

5th place play-off:
[3] FRANCE bt [6] NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Gregoire Marche lost to Paul Coll 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11 (73m)
Mathieu Castagnet bt Campbell Grayson 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (45m)
Lucas Serme bt Evan Williams 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (37m)

7th place play-off:
[8] INDIA bt [10] SCOTLAND 2/1
Vikram Malhotra lost to Alan Clyne 5-11, 14-16, 7-11 (37m)
Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu bt Greg Lobban 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (41m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Douglas Kempsell 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-1 (44m)

9th place play-off:
[7] GERMANY bt [11] USA 2/0
Simon Rösner bt Todd Harrity 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5 (37m)
Raphael Kandra bt Christopher Gordon 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)

11th place play-off:
[12] SPAIN bt [9] MALAYSIA 2/1
Iker Pajares Bernabeu lost to Nafiizwan Adnan 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 6-11 (63m)
Carlos Cornes bt Eain Yow Ng 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (62m)
Bernat Jaume bt Addeen Idrakie 11-2, 11-8, 11-9 (42m)

13th place play-off:
[14] CANADA bt [13] WALES 2/1
Nick Sachvie lost to Peter Creed 6-11, 8-11, 8-11 (45m)
Shawn Delierre bt Emyr Evans 11-6, 13-11, 3-11, 7-11, 17-15 (92m)
Andrew Schnell bt David Haley 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7 (71m)

15th place play-off:
[15] FINLAND bt [16] SWITZERLAND 2/1
Olli Tuominen lost to Nicolas Müller 11-7, 5-11, 11-13, 12-14 (50m)
Miko Äijänen bt Dimitri Steinmann 11-8, 13-11, 11-4 (32m)
Jami Äijänen bt Roman Allinckx 6-11, 11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 12-10 (52m)

17th place play-off:
Leandro Romiglio bt Christo Potgieter 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (34m)
Robertino Pezzota bt Rodney Durbach 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9 (64m)

19th place play-off:
[17] PAKISTAN bt [20] IRELAND 2/0
Farhan Zaman bt Arthur Gaskin 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (24m)
Shahjahan Khan bt Brian Byrne 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 (35m)

21st place play-off:
Daniel Mekbib bt Christopher Binnie 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (42m)
Ondrej Uherka bt Lewis Walters 11-4, 11-8, 13-11 (35m)

23rd place play-off:
[24] IRAQ bt [23] AUSTRIA 2/1
Husham Al-Saadi lost to Aqeel Rehman 7-11, 2-11, 6-11 (25m)
Hasanain Dakheel bt Jakob Dirnberger 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (36m)
Rasool Alsultani bt Lukas Windischberger 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (30m)

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