Saudi Arabia vs Egypt: El Hadary eyes history in dead rubber

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary will become the oldest player in World Cup history if Hector Cuper selects him to face Saudi Arabia.

Published : Jun 25, 2018 08:12 IST

Both teams have already been eliminated from Russia 2018 but a World Cup record could tumble when Egypt takes on Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed Salah's return from his shoulder injury could not avert a 3-1 loss to host Russia in St Petersburg on Tuesday, even though the Liverpool star netted a consolation from the penalty spot.

On the back of a last-gasp 1-0 loss to Uruguay on the opening match day, it left the Pharaohs with only pride to play for against a Saudi Arabia side who salvaged some by going down via the same slender scoreline to La Celeste – a vast improvement on their 5-0 humiliation versus Russia in the curtain raiser.

The goalkeeper against whom Saudi Arabia will try to score its first goal of the competition will provide the main source of intrigue in Volgograd.

WATCH: El-Neny's insights on the clash

Mohamed El-Shenawy won the nod for the first two matches from boss Hector Cuper, leaving captain Essam El Hadary on the bench.

If the 45-year-old plays he will become the oldest player in World Cup history.

"I'll continue to serve my country whether I play or not," El Hadary told MBC Masr.

"The Saudi Arabia game is very important to us. We will fight to achieve victory and get Egypt's first ever World Cup win."

With Salah back in some sort of condition – 100 per cent fitness appeared some distance ahead against Russia – Egypt will start as favourites against Juan Antonio Pizzi's men.

Pizzi led Chile to Copa America Centenario glory and a place in the final of the Confederations Cup last year, but their collapse in the CONMEBOL qualifying campaign meant he paid with his job.

The 50-year-old hopes to oversee the development of his current squad beyond Russia 2018 after this more expected failure.

"I wanted - and still want - to make the Saudi Arabian people feel proud of our energy and the desire we show in matches," he said, as quoted by Arab News.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to do that against Russia and will be playing our next match without any hope of progressing.

"I hope now they will feel a little prouder even though we are out of the World Cup."


Saudi Arabia – Abdullah Al Khaibari

The gifted 21-year-old midfielder was a late bolter into Pizzi's squad. Yet to be given any action at Russia 2018, this marks the perfect opportunity to give Al Khaibari a taste of the big time.

Egypt – Essam El Hadary

Even if he does not make the starting line-up it will be all eyes on the dugout and the touchline to see whether the evergreen keeper will get the chance to break Faryd Mondragon's record.


Video courtesy: FIFA TV

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