By 90Min
June 24, 2018

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are set to face off against each other in their final match in Group A on Monday.

Unfortunately for both sides, the match is practically inconsequential. The pair have already been knocked out of the competition after they both lost their first two matches against group rivals Russia and Uruguay. 

The match will be about earning some pride more than anything else, after they have both endured disappointing campaigns thus far. Egypt in particular will be hoping that their talisman Mohamed Salah can inspire them to their first ever World Cup finals victory.

Neither side will want to finish at the bottom of the pile in Group A and a win for either team could earn back some much needed national support.


Classic Encounter


The two sides have faced each other in international competition before now, at the  Confederations Cup in 1999. The match, played in Mexico, certainly had plenty of talking points.

Saudia Arabia got the better of their African counterparts, trouncing them 5-1 in front of a crowd of 15,000 at the famous Azteca Stadium.

OMAR TORRES/GettyImages

Forward Marzouk Al Otaibi was the star of the show for Saudi as he went in to score four goals -  two in the first half and two in the second. Ibrahim Alshamrani got the other for Saudi whilst the consolation goal for Egypt was scored by Samir Medhat.


Egypt's match was not only disastrous with regards to the scoreline but also due to the fact that they managed to get three players sent off in the process. Abdelsatar Sabry, Hazem Emam and Samir Ibrahim all took the walk of shame for the Pharaohs.


Interestingly, Essam El-Hadary started in goal for Egypt in the match. There is every chance he could feature again in the upcoming match, becoming the oldest player to ever play at a World Cup in the process.


Recent Form


Saudi Arabia come into the clash on a dreadful run of form. They have now lost their last five matches in a row meaning that confidence is likely to be at an all time low for Al Sogour Al Akhdar. Their last win came against Greece in May in a friendly.

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Egypt's recent form is no better. The Pharaohs have won none of their last six matches and have scored just two goals in those results. They avoided defeat against Colombia and Kuwait but have lost the rest of their matches. They have been without Mohamed Salah for five of their last six matches so they will be hoping that he can turn around their fortunes.


Team News


Saudi Arabia are likely to be without one of their key midfielders Taiseer Al-Jassam after he sustained a thigh injury during their defeat to Uruguay. They may also have to do without their attacking midfielder Hatan Bahbir as he is also said to be struggling with an injury.

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Egypt will be without Amr Warda after the winger picked up a suspension for his second yellow card in two games against Russia. The one question will be whether they opt to field 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. If he plays, he will be the oldest player in World Cup history to make an appearance.


Predicted Lineups


Saudi Arabia (4231): Al Owais, Al Burayk, Hawsawi, Al-Boleahi, Al-Sharani, Al-Mogahwi, Ateef, Kanno, Al-Faraj, Al-Dawsari, Al-Muwallad

Egypt (4231): El-Hadary, Fathy, Gabr, Hegazy, Abdel-Shafi, Elneny, El-Said Hamed, Salah, El-Sai, Hassan, Mohsen


Prediction


Both sides will be disappointed to have already been eliminated at this stage but they will both be desperate to pick up a win to at least salvage some pride.

Egypt will be buoyed by the fact that Salah managed to play the full 90 minutes against Russia but the Liverpool man did not look to be his usual self. He still managed to earn and convert a penalty and if he plays half as good as we know he can, he could cause all sorts of problems for a Saudi defence which has struggled previously.

At the other end of the pitch, Saudi are still yet to find the back of the net and in all honesty they haven't come close to doing so in either match. They will be up against a sturdy test in West Brom duo Ali Gabr and Ahmed Hegazy so they may have their work cut out in this one.

Salah and Egypt will be desperate to show why they were highly thought of before the tournament, so expect them to seriously go for it in this one.

Prediction: Saudi Arabia 0-2 Egypt

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