The Pharaohs of Egypt finished their 2018 FIFA World Cup in a disappointing manner as they failed to collect a single point after suffering their third successive defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia.
Following two defeats against Uruguay and Russia, the Pharaohs lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their third group game to finish at the bottom of Group A with zero points.
The Egyptians started the game in their traditional way under Argentine coach Hector Cuper – a defensive set up with a single attacking option, with long balls being sent to Marwan Mohsen and Mohamed Salah behind the Saudi defence.
Cuper’s defensive start gave the Saudi Arabians the confidence to dominate the first half, enjoying 65 per cent of the game’s possession. They, however, failed to cause threat except for Salem El-Dawsari’s long effort that went well over in the 15th minute.
However, it was Mohamed Salah who broke the deadlock for the Egyptians, scoring his second goal in the World Cup. After a brilliant long ball from Abdallah El-Said to Salah behind Saudi’s defence, the Liverpool’s winger lobbed the goalkeeper to put Egypt in front in the 22nd minute.
Despite being dominated, Egypt’s counter attack looked dangerous especially on both flanks. In the 33rd minute, Trezeguet found space on the left side, before linking with Salah who exchanged the ball with the former. The Kasımpaşa midfielder tried a first-time curling effort but it went over.
Six minutes later, Saudi Arabia were awarded a penalty for a handball against Ahmed Fathi. Fahad El-Muwalled stepped up but a heroic save from Essam El-Hadary kept Egypt’s lead.
However, the 1-0 advantage didn’t last for long, as Saudi Arabia were awarded another penalty after a soft foul from Ali Gabr. The penalty was converted by Salman El-Faraj to bring the results level just before halftime.
The second half started in the same manner as the Saudis were clearly the better side and continued their domination. Cuper tried to change things but his substitutions were completely helpless as they failed to make the difference for the Pharaohs.
In the 76th minute, Saudi Arabia were on the verge of taking the lead but heroic saves from El-Hadary kept Egypt’s hopes of winning their first ever World Cup game alive.
As the game seemed to be headed for a draw, Saudi Arabia scored a last-gasp goal to secure their first ever World Cup victory since 1994. Salem El-Dawsari exploited a scramble inside Egypt’s penalty before finishing in the bottom corner of the net.
This marked Egypt’s third defeat in a row in the World Cup as the Pharaohs finished at the bottom of Group A with zero points.