Volgograd (Russia), June 24 (IANS) Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia will aim to exit the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a win when they meet in their final Group A match here on Monday.
Both teams have lost their opening two matches and have no chance of advancing to the next stages.
With their talismanic forward Mohammed Salah struggling with his fitness following a rather hurried return from a left shoulder dislocation, Egypt have struggled in the two matches they played so far.
Playing without Salah in their campaign against mighty Uruguay, the Egyptians gave a good account of themselves in a 0-1 loss to the two-time World Cup winners.
Salah’s presence in Egypt’s second group match against Russia failed to lift the seven-time African champions as they crashed to a 1-3 defeat.
The Saudis have fared no better.
They were thrashed 0-5 by hosts Russia in the tournament opener, which prompted authorities back home to call for punishments and sanctions against the players.
The Saudis displayed markedly better in their second match before conceding a narrow 0-1 loss to Uruguay.
“We will play against Saudi Arabia to regain wellness and achieve our new ambitions after the early exit at this World Cup, which was a big shock and blow. The team will be at its best against Saudi Arabia and there are no excuses for not winning and providing a better performance,” Egypt coach Hector Cuper was quoted as saying by Fifa.com.
“I admit that I found the best reception and best treatment in Egypt, with different views and philosophies, which is normal in football. The players have made great sacrifices and concessions and I thank them very much for everything they have done over the past period,” he added.
“We must not forget that the World Cup is our first global experience, and an experience that you can build on. It must give confidence to the players.”