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Egypt's Goalkeeper Becomes Oldest Player To Play In A World Cup Game At 45

By John Carlo A. Villaruel
on Jun 27, 2018 09:04 PM EDT
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Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary made history on Monday against Saudi Arabia when he became the oldest player to play in a World Cup match.

The 45-year-old El-Hadary broke the record of Colombian goal stopper Faryd Mondragon who played on the 2014 World Cup. Mondragon was 43 years and 3 days old when he competed in the World Cup four years ago, It was the first World Cup for El-Hadary who has 157 caps for Egypt.

 Honored As Oldest Player In The World Cup

El-Hadary said that he is deeply honored to be recognized as the oldest player to appear in the World Cup but he cited that his individual accomplishment is also an achievement for Egypt. He has been a member of the national team since 1996 and has appeared in more than 150 games for his nation.

"Obviously, every player wants to set a record. It would not only be my achievement but also an achievement for Egypt," El-Hadary said.

It also marked the first start for El-Hadary in this year's World Cup after playing as a substitute in their last two games. The Egyptian team captain suited up for Damietta in 1993 before playing with the national team.

El-Hadary has been playing with Al-Ahly, which is a football club based in Cairo. During his stint with the club, he has led Al-Ahly into winning eight Egyptian Premier League trophies, four CAF Champions League crowns, as well as four Egyptian Super Cups and four Egypt Cups.

Egypt has appeared in three World Cups but has yet to win a single game in the tournament. Prior to this year's edition, the Egyptian football team last competed in the quadrennial competition in 1990.

Essam El-Hadary Defies Father Time

While the Saudis went on to win 2-1, El-Hadary showed some flashes of brilliance early as he was able to stop a penalty attempt by Fahad Al Mullawad in the first half. Egyptian booter Ahmed Fathy committed the costly miscue when he was caught for doing a handball inside the penalty box.

The Saudis were awarded another penalty kick late in the first half but this time, Salman Al-Faraj made it sure it won't go into waste as he found the back of the net to give his country the lead 1-0. Salem Al-Dawsari sealed the victory with a late 95-minute goal to finish its World Cup campaign on a strong note.

Egypt and Russia are already eliminated in the tournament. Both nations came into the game with two defeats respectively. Uruguay and Russia are currently tied in Group A with six points each.

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