Egypt goalkeeper becomes World Cup’s oldest player at age 45

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Essam El Hadary holds the ball during a World Cup match. | Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) — Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest person to play in a World Cup match on Monday.

In the team’s final game of the tournament, Egypt coach Hector Cuper opted for the 45-year-old veteran keeper over Mohamed Elshenawy, who has reportedly been nursing an injury.

Egypt has already been eliminated.

El Hadary said on the eve of the match that it would be a huge honor if he were to get the chance to become the oldest player in World Cup history.

“Every player wants to set a record,” he said. “This will be my achievement but also for Egypt.”

El Hadary is a celebrity in Egypt since the Arab nation won three straight African Cup titles with him in goal between 2006 and 2010.

He overtook Faryd Mondragon, who came on as a late substitute in Colombia’s 4-1 victory over Japan four years ago at the World Cup in Brazil when he was 43.

Other prominent veterans to play at the World Cup include former Cameroon forward Roger Milla, who took to the field in a group match against Russia at the age of 42.

The others in the top six are all goalkeepers: Northern Ireland’s Pat Jennings, England’s Peter Shilton and Italy’s Dino Zoff, the 1982 World Cup-winning captain.

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