Player Older Than Modern FIFA World Cup Trophy Makes Debut In The Tournament

FIFA WC 2018: The Egyptian goalkeeper Essam Elhadary is 25 years older than the youngest player in this tournament, Kylian Mbappe who is just 19 years old

One more record has been added to the list of new records that are being created and broken in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia. During the match between Egypt and Saudi Arabia at Volgograd Arena on June 25, the Egyptian captain Essam Elhadary became the oldest player to ever appear in a FIFA World Cup match at the age of 45 years and 161 days. He is also older than three managers of FIFA World Cup 2018 teams — Roberto Martinez (Belgium), Mladen Krstajic (Serbia) and Aliou Cisse (Senegal) — and is even older than the modern FIFA World Cup trophy itself which was first introduced in 1974.

The Egyptian goalkeeper is 25 years older than the youngest player in this tournament, Kylian Mbappe who is just 19 years old. Previously, the record was held by Colombian player Faryd Mondragon who was 2 years and 158 days younger Elhadary. Essam Elhadary did not play the first two games of Egypt’s group matches and was replaced by Mohamed El-Shenawy as the goalkeeper.

Egypt lost the match against Saudi Arabia by 2-1. With this loss, Egypt has lost all their 3 World Cup encounters and are eliminated from the tournament despite being the African favourites. Saudi Arabia, too, is were eliminated from the tournament after they lost their first two matches to Russia and Uruguay.

In his debut match, Elhadary saved a penalty which came in the 41st minute and thereby, became only the fourth goalkeeper to save a penalty on his FIFA world cup debut match. The other three being Iceland’s Hannes Halldorsson, USA’s Tony Meola and Peru’s Quiroga. But he failed to stop the second penalty that Saudi Arabia did not miss just after four minutes of the previous penalty.

On Monday, the ongoing FIFA World Cup witnessed the highest number of penalties (20), crossing the previous record of 18 penalties in 2002 World Cup and there are still 28 games left to be played. In the last tournament, there only 13 penalties were awarded in the entire tournament. Such high penalty count might be due to the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology.

(Written by Abhijeet Ghumman)