Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty as Egypt sealed a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo to reach the World Cup finals.
Salah had put Egypt ahead in the 63rd minute in Alexandria only for Arnold Bouka Moutou to equalise two minutes from the end of regular time.
But the Reds forward kept his cool from 12 yards in the final moments (90+5) to seal a victory that gave Egypt an unassailable four-point lead over Uganda in Group E with one round of fixtures remaining.
Egypt last qualified for the World Cup in 1990 but will now compete at next summer’s showpiece in Russia.
Their Argentina-born coach Hector Cuper had admitted the pressure to end their absence had seen him take 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.”