Even Mohamed Salah can’t stop Egypt from spiralling out of World Cup

Mohamed Salah struggled to hide his disappointment at Egypt's defeat to Russia. (AFP)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Even Mohamed Salah can’t stop Egypt from spiralling out of World Cup

  • Liverpool star is now fit but game against Saudi Arabia will be a dead rubber
  • Question marks over future of coach Hector Cuper

ST PETERSBURG: Egypt coach Hector Cuper admitted that Monday’s final Group A game in the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia is almost certain to be a matter of regional pride and not much else.
The North Africans sank to a second consecutive defeat on Tuesday, losing 3-1 to hosts Russia in Saint Petersburg. Following a painful last-minute loss to Uruguay in the opening game, it leaves Egypt stuck on zero points and facing early elimination.
Now the focus is on the all-Arabian clash against their regional rivals in Volgograd.
“We still have a game to play against Saudi Arabia and we will give our all in that game but our chances (of going to the second round) are minimal,” Cuper said. “It is important we perform well in that game and get the right result.”
The Spaniard has faced questions from the Egyptian media as to whether he will still be in the hotseat after a disappointing time in Russia. He intends to see out the tournament.
“I hope to continue as coach but that is a decision that does not depend on me. If those responsible want to me leave then that is what I will do.”
Mistakes at crucial times in the two games have cost Egypt. After losing 1-0 to Uruguay, the Pharaohs were solid against Russia, who had defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0 five days previously in Group A, in the first half.
Three goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half virtually ended Egypt’s World Cup.
Cuper was happy with the team’s defensive performance in the first half but was left to lament the first period after the restart.
“The game lasted 94 minutes and we had a very bad 15 minutes early in the second half and that is why we lost,” said the Argentine. “It wasn’t a lack of concentration but we did make mistakes. We lacked a little luck to get the ball into the net. I am happy with what we have done but you have to make the most of your goalscoring opportunities.”
Saudi Arabia will have to deal with a fully fit Mohamed Salah.
The Liverpool forward, who scored 44 goals in the 2017-18 season for Liverpool, scored Egypt’s only goal in his first appearance since sustaining an injury against Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League final in late May.
“Of course, we would have preferred if he had not been injured but it would have been especially good if he had been able to train with the team for the three weeks we had at the same intensity as the other players. We missed that."
Cuper said Salah is desperate to play as much as possible in the World Cup. “I was told by the medical staff that the player was good and felt good. It may have been different if he had been fit for the World Cup but we will never know.
“We have played well mostly, apart from short periods when we have made mistakes The players have given everything and I can’t complain about their effort and this has been a great experience for them. There is still a game to go however and that is now what we have to think about.”


England’s Oliver Fisher cards first 59 in European Tour history

Updated 21 September 2018
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England’s Oliver Fisher cards first 59 in European Tour history

  • The 30-year-old tapped in for par on the final hole to complete an astonishing 12-under-par round featuring 10 birdies and an eagle
  • Fisher, who was regarded as a possible future star as a teenage amateur, is ranked down at 287 in the world and had missed 11 cuts in his 22 previous events

VILAMOURA: Unheralded Englishman Oliver Fisher fired the first round of 59 in the European Tour’s 46-year history on a remarkable second day of the Portugal Masters on Friday.
The 30-year-old tapped in for par on the final hole to complete an astonishing 12-under-par round featuring 10 birdies and an eagle, after his long birdie putt for a 58 grazed the edge of the hole.
“It feels great, I started great and I kept it going,” Fisher said. “Just pleased I two-putted from 40 feet on the final green.”
Fisher, who was regarded as a possible future star as a teenage amateur, is ranked down at 287 in the world and had missed 11 cuts in his 22 previous events this season.
He also had to battle to save his tour card at the same tournament two years ago, but scaled heights that thousands of players had failed to reach before with his efforts on Friday.
“Two years ago I was on the same green just trying to keep my card, so I was keeping that in the back of my mind and trying to remember that it could be worse,” he added.
Fisher’s round gave him the clubhouse lead on 12-under for the tournament, with the majority of players still on the course.
Two other men had come close to the magical number at the Portugal Masters, with Scott Jamieson and Nicolas Colsaerts both missing putts to break 60 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.