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Saudi Arabia 'extremely happy' to be drawn with Egypt in 2018 World Cup

Ahram Online , Friday 1 Dec 2017
Saudi Arabia crushed Egypt 5-1 at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup

Saudi Arabia's football chief said he was happy his country was drawn with Egypt in Group A of the 2018 World Cup.

Both teams were drawn together along with hosts Russia and South American powerhouses Uruguay following Friday's draw in Moscow.

"We are extremely happy that we are with Egypt in the same group," Adel Ezzat, the president of Saudi Arabia's Football Federation, told Egyptian sports website

"Egypt and Saudi Arabia are sisterly nations; football and many other things are common between us.

"I hoped this would be the outcome and I expect that both countries will join each other in the last 16," he added.

The only familiar face for Egypt in their group is Saudi Arabia, having met their Arab rivals in six FIFA-sanctioned matches.

Although Egypt won four games and drew once in six meetings, their only defeat by the Saudis was painful, having suffered a humiliating 5-1 loss in the group stage of the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he was neither happy nor disappointed following the draw.

"I cannot say if I am happy or not after the draw. The group is what it is," he said.

"My emotions ahead and after the draw are the same. I smiled when we got Uruguay because they asked to have a friendly match against us and we did not agree. They were chasing us and finally got us."

Egypt will open their campaign against two-time winners Uruguay on Friday 15 June before meeting Russia four days later and concluding their Group A campaign against Saudi Arabia on 25 June.

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