Egypt’s record-breaker Essam El Hadary takes the Hublot World Cup Moment of the Day

Nick Watkins 26/06/2018
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VAR might be helping the tournament in Russia break all sorts of records but it was Egypt’s Essam El Hadary who is the latest to re-write the history books.

The goalkeeper became the oldest player to appear at the World Cup aged 45 years and 161 days as Egypt slumped to defeat to Saudi Arabia. El Hadary’s celebrations were short-lived as The Green Falcons swooped in with an injury-time penalty to take all three points.

A subdued Mohamed Salah got on the scoresheet for Egypt but could not avoid a third-successive World Cup 2018 loss as Salem Al Dawsari earned a deserved 2-1 win for Saudi Arabia in the final throes at Volgograd Arena.

Salah, 26, belied nagging doubts about a shoulder injury and off-field reports of imminent retirement to lob the Pharaohs into the lead on 22 minutes.

The ascendant Green Falcons had two first-half penalties that needed review by VAR. Fahad Al Muwallad’s first was saved by 45-year-old record-breaking goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, before Salman Al Faraj did the business deep into first-half injury time.

A draw then seemed apparent before a delightful move was finished off by Villarreal loanee Al Dawsari’s lashed effort into the bottom corner.

El-Hadary is six years older than Mexico’s Rafael Marquez, who is making his fifth appearance in the World Cup for Mexico, the third player in the World Cup to ever do so, aged 39. The next-oldest keeper in the competition is Argentina’s Willy Caballero, 36, who is filling in for the injured Sergio Romero.

El-Hadary, won his 159th cap for his country with that appearance, made his full international debut aged 23 back in 1996. Since then the goalkeeper has gone on to win four African Cup of Nations titles with Egypt and has been named the best goalkeeper at the tournament on three occasions. He replaces Faryd Mondragon at the top of the all-time World Cup list – who featured at the 2014 tournament in Brazil for Colombia at 43 years and three days old in a 4-1 victory over Japan and forced some famous names further down the list.

Former Cameroon international Roger Milla remains the oldest outfield player ever to set foot on the World Cup stage, while El-Hadary’s appearance will see Northern Ireland and England legends Pat Jennings and Peter Shilton slip into fourth and fifth on the list respectively.

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Africa’s youngest ever World Cup scorer Moussa Wague takes the Hublot Moment of the Day

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Record goal: Moussa Wague scores for Senegal

Moussa Wague celebrates after becoming the youngest African player to score at the World Cup during Senegal’s 2-2 draw with Japan.

The 19-year-old full-back lashed one in on 71 minutes as Senegal looked to secure all three points. Samurai Blue, however fought back for a second time in the match when Pachuca forward Keisuke Honda tapped in at the back post after a scramble, ending a drought that stretches back to September 2016, to earn Japan a 2-2 draw.

Earlier in the game Liverpool forward Sadio Mane had taken advantage of an awful mistake from goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima to deflect in an 11th-minute opener for the Lions of Teranga. New Real Betis winger Takashi Inui levelled things up in style on 34 minutes when he curled a shot into the bottom corner.

The result at Ekaterinburg Arena left both teams on four points at the midway point in the fight to make the round of 16. Neither side are guaranteed to qualify for the later stages after Colombia defeated Poland 0-3 in the other game in Group H. Senegal now face Colombia in the final game of the group stages, where a draw will be enough to see the Africans through to the knockout stages.

The winners of Group H play the runners-up in Group G, which sets up a potential match with England, depending on how Gareth Southgate’s men fare against Belgium on Thursday. The Three Lions will be in confident mood going into the final group fixture having seen off Panama with an impressive 6-1 win on Sunday. Belgium will also fancy their chances of topping the group having picked up six points already in the opening two games, including a 5-2 thumping of Tunisia.

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