Who? Saudi Arabia - Egypt
Where? Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
When? June 25, 16:00 (CET local time)
The Arab Derby was supposed to be one of the most fun games to watch in the 2018 World Cup Group Stage the, but due to the early exit of both teams, it is turned in to a sad symbol of the Arab teams failure in the tournament.
Egypt’s World Cup campaign has went down the hill after two losses to Uruguay & Russia, while the Saudi one hasn’t prompted to be from the first moment with a hammering loss at the firs game to the hosts and a positive display against the Uruguayans.
The match will take place with many stories and rumours around the Egyptian team. Few reports suggested that Mohamed Salah won’t join his friends to Volgograd; the fact that Ramzan Kadyrov handed the star a honorary citizenship of Chechenia; stories about the presence of celebrities, artists, friends and family members who were wondering around the team’s; Cúper’s contract talks and many more. If you’ll ask any Egypt fan about the way the World Cup was handled by the FA and all involved you won’t hear any good things.
Though, an Arab Derby against the Saudi is a good option to finish this experience in a good taste. Egypt is likely to let Essam El-Hadary play, in order that the veteran goalkeeper, will be able to break the record of the oldest player to play the World Cup at 45 years of age.
Nobody in the country would admit it, but gaining a victory on a the country that succeeded Egypt’s role as the Sunni leader of the region, would a great pleasure for the fans. In addition, many Egyptian players (8 in the squad) are playing in the Saudi league and Turki Al-Sheikh, the Saudi head of FA has donated to Al-Ahly in the past year, was given presidency of honour at the club, and eventually, due to the fans protests was removed from the title.
On the other side, the Saudis, who had an expected but weak tournament want to win as well. Pizzi, who is willing to continue after the World Cup, knows that only a victory on a better side as Egypt would be counted for him when negotiating with his bosses next month.
The Arab World Cup will finish with a regional derby, that was supposed to be festival of fans and Middle Eastern football, but instead will be a quiet farewell for two famous teams as the Pharaohs & the Green Falcons.