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Cuper unsure of Egypt future as El Hadary nears milestone

24 iunie 2018 22:49

Egypt head coach Hector Cuper is not sure what the future holds as he refused to confirm whether he will remain in charge after the World Cup.

Cuper's Egypt will meet Saudi Arabia in Monday's Group A dead rubber, with both nations having already been eliminated from the showpiece tournament. 

There had been high hopes for Egypt until back-to-back defeats to Uruguay and Russia ended their chances of progressing amid fitness concerns over star forward Mohamed Salah.

Ahead of Egypt's final fixture, Cuper was asked about his future and the Argentine tactician – who has been at the helm since 2015 – told reporters on Sunday: "I would never go through life excluding anything.

"It will depend on a number of factors. There are certain decisions to make to make everyone happy."

The World Cup has not gone according to plan for Egypt, who suffered a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Uruguay before capitulating 3-1 to hosts Russia on matchday two.

Cuper and Egypt, however, are determined to bow out with three points.

"It's an important match. We want to end the world Cup on a high note," he said. "We've prepared well. We've prepared well. Once again, we're playing for the people in Egypt and give them joy.

"The fact that Egypt might win their first match at a World Cup is an important milestone."

There has been a lot of talk about Salah and whether Egypt might have advanced if the Liverpool sensation had not hurt his shoulder in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

"There's no doubt that Salah has huge importance. He's always been important just has he's been in the last year in the Premier League," Cuper added. 

"If he was up to speed in the first match, it would have been very important but I always repeat this as a manager, I don't want to focus on one player. We need more than one player. We need a team. 

"All our players are important. But he is a natural born scorer. He can make the difference in the attacking. I don't know what would've been. If he hadn't been hurt, it could've been an advantage."

While it has been largely disappointing for Egypt, the African giants could have something to celebrate if veteran captain and goalkeeper Essam El Hadary plays.

The 45-year-old is poised to become the oldest World Cup player, though there are no guarantees he will start, even after fronting the media alongside Cuper.

When quizzed on the looming milestone, El Hadary – who has been at the centre of a reported rift with his team-mates which was denied on Sunday – said: "Obviously I will be very happy if I participate tomorrow but I don't know. This is not certain. This choice will be made by the management. 

"Any player wants to set a record. This record will be my achievement but also for Egypt. I hope I'll be able to set this record."

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