45-year-old El-Hadary says effort earned him World Cup spot; tips Egypt to reach round of 16

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Wednesday 13 Jun 2018,
Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El Hadary (L) talks with Egypt's forward Mahmoud Abdelrazek during a training session at the Akhmat Arena stadium in Grozny on June 12, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. (AFP)

Egyptian skipper Essam El-Hadary says his spot with the national team at the World Cup was earned by effort, insisting that the Pharaohs need determination and luck to advance to the advanced rounds of the prestigious tournament in Russia.

"We need determination and luck to win the three matches of the first round and proceed to the round of 16," El-Hadary told BeIN Sports on Tuesday.

Egypt will play their opener in the cup against Uruguay on Friday.

If he starts in Egypt's game against Uruguay, the 45-year-old El-Hadary would make history by becoming the oldest player ever to play in the World Cup.

The Saudi Arabia-based guardian could, therefore, beat the age record of former Colombia keeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he took part in the 2014 World Cup.

"The awaited personal record is not only for me but also for my country, my teammates and those who all helped me to be there," he said.

"Football is a collective game. Once the harmony exists, success will be possible," he added.

El-Hadry is expected to be coach Hector Cuper's number-one choice between the sticks - amid little competition from Ahly duo Sherif Ekramy and Mohamed El-Shennawi - after his main challenger, Zamalek's Ahmed El-Shennawi, was ruled out of the World Cup with injury.

"Beating Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia is possible since they are all from different continents," the former Ahly keeper explained.

"Playing teams of different playing styles is better than playing two teams from one continent," he concluded.

Egypt will be making their first World Cup appearance since 1990, when they were eliminated at the group stage.

The seven-time African champions, Egypt, will take on hosts Russia on 19 June before facing Saudi Arabia in their final group stage game on 25 June.

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

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