Egypt's World Cup hopes collapse in loss to Russia
Egypt's World Cup dream has gone completely off the track after yet another loss, this time to the tournament's host Russia. The most important day in Egyptian football history ended with a bitter 3-1 loss to the Russians in St. Petersburg.
Despite drawing 0-0 at halftime in a close game, in the 2nd half Egypt simply fell apart, lost concentration, and continued the horrific record of Arab teams in this World Cup: four games, four losses.
Ahmed Fathy opened the scoring with a pathetic own goal in the 47th minute, Denis Cherishev doubled, and fifteen minutes later it was already 3-0. Egypt looked lost, helpless and dim.
Mohamed Salah grabbed one goal back after a foul had been committed in the box, and he took a penalty. With this goal Salah succeeded Magdi Abdelghani who was the last Egyptian to a score in a World Cup, and was bragging about it that he will remain the last scorer after the tournament.
He didn't but it could not heal the Egypt's wound from a very chilly summer in Russia.
The way to Volgograd now seems longer than ever, as Egypt and Saudi Arabia will play a match for their honour and reputation, or what is left of them.
This is one of the best generations Egypt had in years, but the technical staff and coach Hector Cúper took decisions that brought horror for their team, two games in a row.
The first one was to put Salah on the bench against Uruguay. The second was fielding Salah today and not keeping him on the bench to be unleashed in the second half.
Against Uruguay, as has been written here, the Pharaohs produced one of their best games in years. Only if they could have reproduced it against the Russians, things would have looked differently before the last match day.
After the disappointment in the first match, the second match tomorrow will see Saudi Arabia against Uruguay, Morocco against Portugal and the Iranian team Melli who will take on Spain.
After the bad first results in the tournament, the expectations for progressing to the knockout stage for any of the teams aren't high, but hopes and morale among fans of the region's national teams in Russia remains positive, though not high. The Middle Eastern way.
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