It is important that Egypt win a game in World Cup: Coach Cuper

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Jun 2018,
Hector Cuper
Egypt coach Hector Cuper during the press conference (Photo: REUTERS)

Coach Hector Cuper said on Sunday Egypt are determined to show their true value when they face Saudi Arabia on Monday, adding that his side are looking to end their World Cup campaign with a win.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have both been eliminated from the tournament following two defeats each, making Monday's clash in Volgograd a quest for pride.

"For us, this is an important match," Cuper told a news conference on Sunday.

"We want to end our participation in World Cup on a high note, with a good result. And once again we’re playing for all people in Egypt; we want to give them joy.

"We want to end this World Cup with a victory. A first World Cup win for Egypt would be something very important.”

Egypt have never won any game in the football's most prestigious showpiece. They lost 4-2 to Hungary on their first appearance in 1934 and drew with the Netherlands and Ireland before losing to England at the 1990 finals in Italy.

They had a disappointing campaign in Russia after ending a 28-year wait for a World Cup appearance, slumping to a last-gasp 1-0 defeat by Uruguay before losing 3-1 to hosts Russia after collapsing in a 15-minute second-half spell.

"I’m not sad, I don’t share the view that the team didn’t perform well,” Cuper said.

"We came to the World Cup saying we needed to focus on what we’re doing well. I’m really satisfied with what we’ve done.

"I wouldn’t say happy - that’s too far - but I’m satisfied. We committed minor errors in matches and what we want to do is then bow out in style in the next match."

The Argentinean boss has also rubbished reports saying there was a dressing-room rift following the loss against Russia.

Local reports said Egypt's veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary fell out with the goalkeeping coach after not being given a chance to play against Russia. The 45-year-old will become the oldest player ever to play at World Cup if he features against Saudi Arabia on Monday.

"First of all, there’s always a lot of talk around football, a lot of rumours swirling around the team. But I would actually ask whether there’s any evidence of this. Because if you don’t have any concrete proof I don’t have to answer this question,” Cuper added.

"I always say that within the team there’s a great harmony, that’s why we’ve made it as far as we have."

 Cuper defended the choice of Grozny as Egypt's training base and refused to answer a question regarding what some media outlets called the "political use" of star forward Mohamed Salah.

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov gave the Liverpool man the honorary citizenship of Chechnya on Saturday while hosting a dinner for the Egypt team.

"FIFA offered us a couple of choices when it came to setting up the base camp and we chose Grozny from that list, that's all,” Cuper said.

"And the other topic talking about Salah, I don’t know exactly how he was used in any populist way. I don’t really understand that. This image of Mohamed, the entire team went to Grozny.

(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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