Meet Essam El Hadary: The Oldest Person To Play In The World Cup

You probably haven't heard of Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, but he just made World Cup history against Saudi Arabia.

There has already been a great number of talking points to come out of the World Cup currently rolling on in Russia, and we haven't even reached the end of the group stages yet. The hosts have proved their doubters wrong, to some extent, bigger soccer nations are struggling against perceived minnows, and 34 games in and we still haven't had to sit through a 0-0 draw.

On Monday the third set of group games began. To avoid teams attempting to play out certain results that favor both teams in said match, all four countries from each group have to play simultaneously. In Group A that saw Russia and Uruguay do battle for the top spot while Egypt and Saudi Arabia played out what was effectively a glorified friendly match.


Even though most fans will have been watching Russia take on Uruguay, there was history being made in the other Group A game. Egypt brought along Essam El Hadary to the World Cup. The goalkeeper is hardly a household name but on Monday he became the oldest player to ever compete at a World Cup. El Hadary set the record of 45 years and 161 days, beating Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon's previous record of 43 years and three days, set at the Brazilian World Cup in 2014.

Although Egypt lost the match with Saudi Arabia on Monday, it would have been a memorable won for El Hadary for a number of reasons. It was the keeper's 157th appearance for his country making him the third most capped player in Egyptian soccer history. It's also the first time in his long career that Egypt has qualified for the World Cup, but the keeper has won the African Cup Of Nations three times with his country. What he will remember most is his great penalty save during the game which you can check out above.

Egypt being eliminated from their group with a game to spare will have been a blessing in disguise for El Hadary. Of course, the veteran would have preferred to go further into the tournament with his country but that would have likely meant he didn't get to play. Thanks to Egypt's match with Saudi Arabia not having any real meaning it meant the country could show their appreciation for a long-serving player and give his international career the send-off it deserves.


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