Mohamed Salah apologised to Egypt’s supporters in Russia for the team’s disappointing exit from the World Cup, after a 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia ensured they left the tournament without winning a point.
Salah scored a well-taken goal in the first half, his second of the tournament, but Saudi Arabia equalised with Salman Al-Faraj’s penalty before Salem Al-Dawsari’s late winner.
“We want to apologise to all the Egyptian fans who came to support us here in the three matches, I know it is difficult for them, like us,” Salah said. “I just want to say that Egypt reached the World Cup after 28 years, some players here do not have the required experience. Thanks to all of them and we will back again in 2022.”
Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, who is 45, took the field for his team’s final group match to set the record. Although he saved one penalty, he couldn’t stop Saudi Arabia from winning 2-1 in a game between two teams that had already been eliminated.
“I am very sorry for the fans, for everyone in Egypt,” El Hadary said. “I want to thank my teammates. It was a great honour for me to play.”
El Hadary overtook Faryd Mondragon as the oldest person to play at the World Cup. The Colombia goalkeeper was 43 when he came on as a late substitute in his team’s 4-1 victory over Japan four years ago at the World Cup in Brazil.
“It is true that it was a special record today and many, many people in Egypt love him and support him,” Egypt coach Hector Cuper said. “and he has played a great game.”
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