Egypt has set a World Cup record with its goalkeeper

Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary
Egypt’s Essam El-Hadary
Image: Reuters/Darren Staples
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In Egypt’s final game at the 2018 World Cup, for once, the man in the spotlight was not high-flying forward Mo Salah.

At 45, goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary became the oldest ever player to play in a FIFA World Cup match in their final match against Saudi Arabia. El-Hadary first made an appearance for Egypt in 1996.

El-Hadary now holds the record as the oldest player to be selected as part of a World Cup squad and the oldest to play in a World Cup game.

His dream of appearing in the World Cup looked to be over back in January 2013 when he lost his place in the national team after a 17-year stint but he had a renaissance of sorts and, last year, at 44 years and 363 days, he set the record as the oldest to appear in an African Cup of Nations tournament.

El-Hadary also set another record once the game began: in the 41st minute he became the oldest man to save a penalty in a FIFA World Cup game.

But despite his longevity, El-Hadary, with 159 caps, is far from being the man with the most international appearances for his country. Ahmed Hassan (184) and Hossam Hassan (169) hold the top two records for most appearances for Egypt.