Legendary Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary made history on Monday when he became the oldest man to play in any Fifa World Cup — he led his side against Saudi Arabia in Egypt's final match of the tournament at the Volgograd Arena.
I want to thank my teammates. It was a great honour for me to play.
El-Hadary, 5 years and 161 days old on Monday, was surprisingly competing in his first World Cup — although it was his 157th cap for the Pharaohs. He eclipsed the record set by Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon at the 2014 World Cup, who was 43 years and 3 days old in his final match.
In the space of 24 hours, African players broke two records:#SEN Moussa Wagué became the youngest ever African player to score at the #WorldCup aged 19 years and 236 days.
As well as:#EGY Essam El-Hadary, 45 years, will officially become the oldest player to play in the WC— Nkosinathi Shazi (@NkosinathiShazi) June 25, 2018
It was a bittersweet moment for El-Hadary — his historic moment came in defeat, when Egypt conceded a last-minute goal and lost 2-1. In a moment to savour, however, El-Hadary had earlier saved a penalty from Fahad Al-Muwallad, proving that he still had gas in the tank.
But a second penalty and a goal at the death meant the Pharaohs bowed out of Russia without a win. Three of Africa's five teams have now been eliminated from the competition — Morocco and Tunisia could not make it past the first round either.
The continent's last hopes now rest on Nigeria and Senegal. The Super Eagles take on Argentina in a do-or-die match tonight, needing a victory to guarantee them a place in the knockout stages. Kick-off is scheduled for 8pm South African time.
Senegal probably has a steeper hill to climb — they take on another colossal South American giant, Colombia, on Thursday. Kick-off is scheduled for 4pm.