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FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

A GIANT BETWEEN THE STICKS: Age is but a Number…As Egypt’s El Hadry Looks to Be World Cup’s Oldest Goalkeeper

On 24th June 2014 Colombian goalkeeper, Faryd Mondragon became the oldest player ever to play in a World Cup match. Mondragon came on as a substitute in the second half of Colombia’s 4-1 win over Japan.

Mondragon was just over 43 years old and a member of Colombia’s team that competed in the 1994 and 1998 prestigious global tourneys but his record stands on the brink of being shattered with Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary on the cusp of being the new oldest player in a FIFA World Cup if he takes to the field for the Pharaohs.

Currently 45 years old, the net-minder is two years Mondragón’s senior and there’s a good chance El-Hadary will play for Egypt during the tournament having been his country’s first choice for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (also giving him the title for oldest player at an African Cup of Nations finals tournament at 44 years 21 days), in which Egypt finished runners-up to Cameroon.

El-Hadary voiced delight at the prospect of setting a record at the biggest sporting event on earth.

“Sometimes the media highlight a record for me that I did not know anything about but setting a record at a prestigious tournament like the World Cup makes me happy,” he told The Guardian.

El-Hadary has won 156 caps for Egypt, winning the African Cup of Nations four times and clinching the championship’s best goalie prize thrice beginning in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Stoke City’s 21-year-old winger Ramadan Sobhi, likely to feature today, was not even born when the man nicknamed ‘The High Dam’ made his Egypt debut in 1996.

El Hadry’s experience will prove crucial and perhaps help the North African side go far complemented by Mohammed Salah’s prowess up in attack.

Egypt going further to win the staked prize will see the Al Tawooun’s captain topple Dino Doff as the oldest winner of the trophy which the now 77-year-old secured as Italy’s captain in the 1982 tournament in Spain, at 40.

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