Egypt’s greatest footballer, 25-year-old forward Mohammed Salah, who plays for Liverpool in England, scored a brace which included a penalty kick deep into injury time that sent Egypt to Russia for the 2018 World Cup and Egyptians around the world into a frenzy of celebration.

In Cairo, endless parade of cars with honking horns and delighted fans swarming into the streets. Army helicopters dropped hundreds of red, white and black Egyptian flags on the celebrants in Tahrir Square, one of the rare occasions on which crowds have been allowed to gather there since the uprisings in 2011.

The win clinched Egypt a long-awaited spot in Russia for the 2018 World Cup , where the Arab world’s most populous country will compete on football’s ultimate stage for the first time since Italy in 1990.

The seven-time African champion and the continent’s most successful team, Egypt finished top of Group E in African qualifying with a game to spare.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi congratulated the Egyptian people after the match as tireless fans draped in flags turned the streets into an impromptu parade of red, white and black.

Just across the border in neighbouring Gaza, where Egypt has led a political reconciliation process, thousands of Palestinians poured into an open-air park to cheer on the second Arab country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after Saudi Arabia.