The greatest Egyptian mystery of all time: how has our national team, the most decorated and successful country in African football history only qualified for the World Cup an embarrassing two times out of 20 possible occasions? We have a spectacular seven African Cup of Nations victories (2 and 3 more times than international powerhouses Cameroon and Ghana, respectively), we were the first African country to ever qualify for a World Cup by making an appearance at the 1934 tournament, and yet we only have two appearances at the most popular human sporting event - and the most watched television broadcast - through the course of all these years. What?!

In comparison to Egypt, Cameroon has qualified seven times, Nigeria five times, and fellow Arab countries Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria have played at the tournament a respectable four times. Countries that we routinely outclass in terms of talent, and who have football federations about 30 years younger than ours, have double the experience in international competition than we do. How?

Luckily for us, the days of throwing items at our TVs, and visiting our blood pressure doctor after every game may just be coming to an end with a new wave of Egyptian talent thriving at international clubs worldwide, seasoned with veteran Argentinian head coach Hector Cuper; they're ready to lead the nation back to the largest stage of them all. With less than four months remaining in the qualification process for the upcoming 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia, Egypt is sitting high in our qualifiers group. We remain undefeated after victories against Congo and Ghana, and it's starting to look like this just might be our time to shine. In fact, on the official FIFA World Rankings, Egypt was 20th - our highest ranking since our golden age 2010 team (throwback to Abotrika and Mohamed Zidan).

In honour of om el donya's high chances of qualifying for Russia 2018, marking our first appearance at a World Cup in 28 years, we made a list of seven cool defining aspects of Egyptian life the last time we made it to the Coupe du Monde.

Last time we were in the World Cup…

The dollar was worth EGP 3.14, the pound was worth more than the Saudi Riyal, and the Emirati Dirham.


The really short football “hot short” shorts, were still in fashion.


Amr Diab not only looked like a teenager, but actually was!


Hosny Mubarak looked a little less prehistoric.


Egypt’s population was 56.4 million, and Cairo only had 8.5 million residents in comparison to the contemporary population estimates 91.5 million and 20.5 million in Cairo.


Tahrir Square looked like this!


A bowl of koshary at Abo Tarek was only EGP 1.5 for a medium, and EGP 2 for the large!

Main photo: Getty Images