Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt FIFA World Cup Group A

by Samuel Abasi Posted on June 25th, 2018

Saudi Arabia beat Egypt 2-1 in their FIFA World Cup Group A preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia on Monday. Saudi Arabia ends Group A in third place with three points and Egypt finishes last with three losses – with both teams earlier eliminated..

Egypt and Saudi Arabia were tied at 0-0 when Salah sprinted the length of the field in the 22nd minute to score Egypt’s only goal. It was Mo Salah’s second goal of the 2018 World Cup.

Egyptian midfielder Abdallah Said received the ball behind the midfield line. He looked up and saw the superstar striker making a run toward goal, before firing a long pass toward the box.

Salah brought the ball down beautifully with his left boot, keeping a close touch. He then outpaced two nearby defenders before tapping the ball off of a bounce over Saudi goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem. The Liverpool superstar celebrated by kissing the field.

Moments after the goal, Salah, through on goal again missed an even clearer chance but his chip over the Saudi keeper went wide.

Salah now has both of Egypt’s scores at the tournament. He scored his first goal of the 2018 World Cup on a penalty kick in the 73rd minute of Egypt’s 3-1 loss to Russia in another Group A match on June 19 in St. Petersburg.

The 26-year-old missed Egypt’s first match of the tournament, a 1-0 loss to Uruguay. Egypt is playing in its first World Cup since 1990.

This was Egypt’s first goal in open play at the World Cup since 1934. Egypt’s last two World Cup goals have come from penalties, including their only goal at the 2018 edition by Mohamed Salah in the 3-1 defeat against hosts Russia. Their last goal from open play was netted by Abdulrahman Fawzi in the 4-2 defeat against Hungary on 27 May 1934.

Salman Alfaraj got the Saudis level with a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time after Ali Gabr was adjudged to have brought down Fahad Almuwallad in the area. The decision was confirmed belatedly after a video review.

Almuwallad had earlier missed a chance to equalize when El Hadary brilliantly saved a penalty. The 45-year-old El Hadary anticipated well, dived fully to his right, flicked his left hand up to push the spot kick onto the bar, before the ball was cleared.

He was unable to repeat when Alfaraj lined up against him, going the wrong way and having no chance of stopping the shot.

The teams went into halftime tied at 1-1.

Salem Aldawsari scored with almost the last kick in a contest where both teams were trying to avoid last spot in their World Cup group. Aldawsari scored from a tight angle inside the Egypt penalty area after poking past 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, who became the oldest person to take the field in a World Cup. 2-1

Egypt’s goalkeeper Essam El Hadary set the record for being the oldest player to start in a World Cup game and had an eventful first half before it ended 1-1 against Saudi Arabia. He became the oldest player in World Cup history at 45 years and 161 days old. El-Hadary, who won his 159th cap for Egypt, had never played in the World Cup finals before. The previous record was set by Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 and three days old, when he appeared on the pitch in the 85th minute, replacing first-choice goalkeeper David Ospina, in his country’s 4-1 defeat of Japan at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been eliminated from the World Cup before today’s game.

Although neither of Saudi Arabia or Egypt can now make it to the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia it was a competitive contest between the two teams nevertheless. Both wanted to end their campaigns on a positive note and make up for their disappointing results in the first two games.

Both teams’ motivation going into this fixture is completely understandable: the Saudis were desperate to avoid finishing in last place in the group at the World Cup for the fourth time, while the Pharaohs came looking for their first-ever win at the tournament following largely unsuccessful appearances in 1934 and 1990.

June 25 is supposed to be happy day in the history of Saudi Arabia’s participation at the FIFA World Cup: they won their first-ever game at the event on this day in 1994, against Morocco in New York. They now have a repeat June 25 victory.

In the previous eight encounters, Saudi Arabia have beaten Egypt only once, a 5-1 group stage victory at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup Mexico. The two sides have drawn twice, with Egypt the victors on five occasions.

A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.

The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.  The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The  11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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