Last Update 1:12
Monday, 27 May 2019

Egypt's World Cup opponents Saudi Arabia lose 2-1 to Germany

Reuters , Reuters , Friday 8 Jun 2018
Germany's Ilkay Gundogan in action (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 3360
Views: 3360

World champions Germany failed to hit top gear as they edged to a 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia in a lacklustre World Cup dress rehearsal on Friday, less than a week before the tournament starts.

It was their first win in six matches but the Germans, who leave for Russia in four days, rarely put their foot on the gas, seemingly fearful of any last-minute injuries, while the Saudis confirmed their good form heading into the World Cup.

"I have no concerns after this game," said Germany coach Joachim Loew. "We will improve and once the tournament starts we will be ready.

"We eased off in the second half, defensively we need to work a bit better and not leave so many open spaces. Overall we squandered too many chances and allowed far too many chances."

With keeper Manuel Neuer starting for the second consecutive game after a nine-month injury break and Jerome Boateng also back from a muscle injury, Germany fielded as close as they could to their tournament team. Mesut Ozil was left out of the squad, recovering from a minor knock on the knee, but they quickly went ahead with Timo Werner finding the net from an assist by Marco Reus.

Yet they failed to maintain the tempo and their defence suffered a few lapses of concentration as the Saudis showed off their speed and skill, putting central defender Mats Hummels under pressure in the first half.

Omar Hawsawi scored an own goal just before the break after Germany twice hit the woodwork and they could have added a few more were it not for a string of fine saves from Saudi goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf.

"Maybe we were lacking a bit of strength after the (two-week) training camp but next week we will be fresher and stronger," Loew said.

The Saudis pulled a goal back when Taisir Al-Jassim scored on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a penalty in the 85th minute and he missed a golden opportunity to level in stoppage time.

Germany's Ilkay Gundogan, who came on in the second half, had to endure his every touch of the ball being whistled and jeered for a second straight game. German fans are angry over a picture he took with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan last month, addressing him in a message as "my president".

Germany are in Group F along with Sweden, South Korea and Mexico. Saudi Arabia take on hosts Russia in the tournament's opening match on June 14 and also play Egypt and Uruguay in Group A.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.