Sheffield’s Nick Matthew was beaten as England were shaded by Egypt in a thrilling climax to the World Team Championship title in Germany.
England, who finished fourth in 2009, had been top seeds for the biennial event but couldn’t match Egypt’s superior court skills.
In a boisterous 1,000 capacity arena and the final level at 1-1 – following Matthew’s defeat and Peter Barker’s convincing win - Karim Darwish completed victory for Egypt when he ousted James Willstrop in 63 minutes.
In the opening rubber, Ramy Ashour beat world No 1 Matthew 11-7, 11-9, 13-11 – the first time the Egyptian had beaten the Englishman in straight games since the pair first met in 2007.
The match will be remembered for a number of disputed decisions in the closing stages. Matthew twice left the court thinking he had won the third game but his appeals were overturned with the crowd showing their dissatisfaction. Matthew said: “I had to fight. The crowd knows but the only people who didn’t were the four [referees] who counted.” However, the 31 year-old added: “He played a lot better than me; he deserved it. I wasn’t playing my best. But if I’d won that third game I think I could have gone on to win the match.”
Ashour said: “It was like being in a UFC bout but I am so proud.”