Beating Russia is Egypt's only way to World Cup round of 16: Skipper El-Hadary

Ahram Online, Tuesday 19 Jun 2018,
Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El Hadary gives a press conference on June 18, 2018 in Saint Petersburg during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament AFP

Egypt await a difficult test against Russia on Tuesday, Egpyt captain Essam El-Hadary believes, but he insists that beating the hosting country is the only way to reach the World Cup round of 16.

"The match is difficult. Of course all the World Cup confrontations are not at all easy," El-Hadary told MBC Masr TV channel late on Monday.

The Pharaohs, who lost 1-0 to Uruguay in their group stage opening game, will face Russia in the second round in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday. Egypt will be in a must-win situation if they are to continue their first World Cup campaign since their last appearance in 1990.

Egypt are in third place of their group with zero points, three behind leaders Russia.

"Our main target and ambition is to beat Russia as this will be our way to the round of 16," explained former Ahly and Zamalek keeper Hadary.

"We can't predict who will win as there are no certainties in football, but we will do our best to achieve our target.”

"We all take our responsibility and work to please the fans," concluded the veteran keeper.

Ahly's keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi, a 29-year-old keeper with little international experience, earned plaudits for a stunning display in Egypt's defeat by Uruguay in their Group A opener on Friday.

He pulled off a string of superb saves to thwart the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, earning the man of the match award despite the fact that Egypt eventually succumbed to a 90th-minute winner from defender Jose Gimenez.

The 45-year-old Hadary was eager to play against Uruguay to make history by becoming the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup as he seeks to beat the record of former Colombia keeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he took part in the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

Hadary featured in all of Egypt's games at the 2017 African Cup of Nations and was also the preferred first-choice keeper of coach Hector Cuper during the World Cup qualifying run.

(For more sports news and updates and a special World Cup 2018 coverage, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports )


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