El-Hadary: Uruguay match will be Egypt’s gateway to second round of World Cup
Essam El-Hadary defended Hector Cuper’s style of play as he spoke about the national team’s preparations for the World Cup.
Despite guiding the Pharaohs to the World Cup for the first time in 28 years, Cuper has been widely criticised in Egypt for his cautious tactics.
The 45-year-old goalkeeper, however, believes the mutual trust between the players and the technical staff was key to Egypt’s recent successes, explaining it was the reason behind Egypt reaching the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final and qualifying for the World Cup.
“There is mutual trust between the players and the technical staff. We do not speak about the criticism we receive, as we have our own style of play that we have been using and we are not going to change it no matter what happens,” El-Hadary said in an interview with On Sport satellite channel.
“Cuper won the best coach award and Mohamed Salah was the best African player while we used that style of play,” El-Hadary said in reference to the CAF Awards won by Salah and Cuper earlier this year.
“We only have one goal this camp, as we approach it like it is a World Cup match.
“The World Cup is approaching, and we will start to really feel the momentum by the beginning of May, when we find the whole world watching us.”
Egypt will kick off their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on 15 June, before facing Russia on the 19th. They’ll play their final group match game against Saudi Arabia on June 25.
“Our first goal in the competition will be Uruguay, which will hopefully be our gateway for the next round.
“We will meet Portugal on March 23, but our focus will be on Uruguay and we will play against Portugal as if we are facing Uruguay.”
The Al-Taawoun keeper, who turned 45 in January, is set to become the oldest player at a World Cup. He made 156 appearances for the Pharaohs since making his international debut in 1996.
“I will go to the World Cup as if I were going to play my first game with the national team,” he added.
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