VOLGOGRAD, June 25, 2018 (News Wires) - Essam El Hadary, the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup, marked his record achievement with one outstanding penalty save for Egypt but was powerless to stop a second in a 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia on Monday.
The 45-year-old goalkeeper flew to his right to make a spectacular stop in the 39th minute from Fahad Al-Muwallad’s spot-kick, awarded for handball, at the Volgograd Arena.
But Saudi Arabia scored deep into stoppage time in both halves, with Salem Al-Dawsari’s last-gasp winner securing their first World Cup victory since a run to the last 16 in 1994.
Mohamed Salah’s Egypt still have not recorded a World Cup finals win in three appearances, despite the Liverpool talisman’s superb opening goal.
El Hadary was 45 years and 161 days old when he took to the field as the two already-eliminated teams in Group A played only for pride.
He smashed the age record set by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.
Salah was named in the starting line-up as expected and thrilled an Egyptian-dominated crowd of 36,823 by opening the scoring in trademark fashion after 22 minutes.
The 26-year-old controlled a long ball over the top with one touch of his left boot at pace and did not break stride before lobbing a deft finish with the same foot over the onrushing goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem.
The Egyptians were still clinging onto their lead when the Saudis were awarded a controversial second penalty deep into first-half stoppage time as Fahad appeared to pull the shirt of the covering Ali Gabr before going down in a heap.
But after a VAR-induced review that took almost five minutes to complete, Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan decided to stick with his original decision.
It was second time lucky from the spot as Salman Al-Faraj took responsibilty from 12 yards and El Hadary could not repeat his heroics as the first-half clock ticked past 51 minutes.
El Hadary made his debut for Egypt in 1996, a year before his Egyptian teammate Ramadan Sobhi was born.
He is older than three coaches at Russia 2018 - Roberto Martinez of Belgium, Serbia’s Mladen Krstajic and Aliou Cisse of Senegal.
The Pharoahs captain lived up to his nickname of “High Dam” with two stunning saves from headers in the second half.
But in the fifth minute of second-half injury-time, Al-Dawsari popped up in the box to beat El Hadary with the last kick of the match and secure a famous Saudi win.
VOLGOGRAD, Russia, June 25, 2018 (News Wires) - Saudi Arabia managed their first win at the 2018 World Cup by beating Egypt 2-1 with a last-gasp winner that Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah's 22nd minute goal in Monday's Group A game between the two eliminated teams.
Saudi Arabia finished third in the group standings, scoring their only goals of the tournament and vastly improving from the 5-0 thrashing by hosts Russia in their opening game.
It was a bitter disappointment for the Egyptian side, however, with Liverpool striker Salah unable to prevent three consecutive defeats for his country. Egyptian keeper Essam El-Hadary became the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup at 45-years-old.
Saudi Arabia got back in the game with a penalty awarded just before halftime and Salman Al-Faraj scored from the spot.
They then pulled off a win in the 95th minute thanks to Salem Al-Dawsari's angled shot.
VOLGOGRAD, Russia, June 24, 2018 (MENA) - The Egyptian national football team performed Sunday their last training session at Volgograd Arena Stadium in preparation for their last match in the FIFA World Cup against Saudi Arabia.
Both teams have no chance to qualify for the next stage. The qualifiers from Group A are hosts Russia and Uruguay, who beat the two Arab squads.
The match will be played at 5pm local time (4pm Cairo time) on Monday.
MOSCOW, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - Mohamed Salah looks likely to start against Saudi Arabia in Volgograd on Sunday as Egypt go in search of a first-ever World Cup win in a battle to avoid finishing bottom of Group A.
But Egypt’s 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary may have to wait for an appearance off the bench to set a record as the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper said he would not tinker greatly with the starting XI that were dumped out of the tournament 3-1 by hosts Russia on Tuesday.
“The manager needs a reason to make changes,” Cuper told reporters before Salah took part in a full training session at the Volgograd Arena. “We are not going to change our style.”
An appearance for El Hadary would smash the age record set by Faryd Mondragon in Brazil four years ago.
The Colombia goalkeeper was 43 years and three days old when he played against Japan in a 4-1 group stage victory in Cuiaba.
But the 158-capped El Hadary said he did not know if he would play.
“I will be very happy if I participate and set the record,” he said. “But it is not certain.”
Cuper made it clear that he considered it important for Egypt’s future to register a first-ever win at a World Cup and he would field his strongest side.
“We must bow out in style,” he said.
VOLGOGRAD, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - Egypt and Saudi Arabia will try to avoid finishing last in Group A as they bow out of the World Cup on Monday, a disappointing end to the tournament in particular for Egypt and their prolific striker Mohamed Salah.
Both teams lost their first two games and the only thing they can salvage in the Volgograd Arena is the chance not to finish bottom of their group.
For Saudi Arabia, the match also offers the possibility of a first goal in the tournament in Russia.
Egypt, making their first World Cup appearance since 1990, had been tipped to advance into the knockout rounds after looking strong in the qualifiers.
But they narrowly lost to 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening match, which Salah missed as he recovered from his Champions League final injury with Liverpool. They then went down 3-1 to hosts Russia.
Salah has been pivotal to Egypt, scoring 71 per cent of the team's goals during qualification and claiming their solitary strike of the tournament so far against the Russians.
Despite scoring from the penalty spot, Salah looked like he was still feeling the effects of his injured shoulder in that game.
Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary will be desperate to be on the field in order to enter the World Cup record books as the oldest player to compete at the finals.
The 45-year-old goalkeeper was left out of the previous two games and coach Hector Cuper must decide whether to hand him the gloves for what will surely be his last appearance at the tournament.
Monday's matches all times CLT:
4:00pm Egypt vs Saudi Arabia
4:00pm Uruguay vs Russia
8:00pm Iran vs Portugal
8:00pm Spain vs Morocco
RIYADH, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) -- Saudi Arabia ended its longstanding ban on women driving on Sunday - and the second the clock struck midnight, women across the country started their engines.
This is what it was like for one of those women as she drove across Riyadh, the city of her birth, in her own words:
"My name is Samar Almogren. I'm a talkshow host and writer.
"I took off my niqab a long time ago. When I first decided to show my face on television, it did not go down well. My brothers were very upset. But my father supported me, and has always supported me in all of my life decisions. He's the one who encouraged me to study abroad.
"I've driven in different countries before, and I have an international driver's license, but it's going to be totally different here. At home.
"I actually hate driving. But that's not the point. The point is that it is my right. I can drive, and whether I choose to or not is another issue.
"My whole body is tingling right now. To get in my car, to hold this steering wheel, after having lived my entire life, since the moment I entered this world, in the back seat... This is now my responsibility, and I'm more than ready to bear it. I've long depended on myself.
"I always knew this day would come. But it came fast. Sudden.
"I think this was the biggest stumbling block. I don't see any more obstacles from here on. Driving was the big one, and that's done now.
"Everyone's already asking me to drive them to work or to come for coffee. It's going to be great to be able to take my mother around, rather than have her sit in the backseat with a driver who's a stranger. No, my mom isn't going to drive, at her age. We're going to drive her around, me and my sisters. We want to spoil her.
"What's most important to me is that I can drive my baby around. It's the worst thing to me to have to entrust him to a driver, even though I'm always with him in the car.
"I wore white tonight because it's the colour of peace. I feel like a butterfly... No, a bird. I feel free like a bird."