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Out-of-contract Cuper refusing to walk away from Egypt

19:51 BST 25/06/2018
Hector Cuper - cropped
The Pharaohs crashed out of the World Cup with three defeats from three, but their manager has stopped short of confirming his departure

Egypt head coach Hector Cuper insists he has no intention of leaving his post despite his contract ending after their World Cup exit.

Salem Al-Dawsari scored with the last kick of the game to secure a 2-1 win for Saudi Arabia and leave Egypt rock bottom of Group A with three defeats out of three.

It seems unlikely that Cuper's contract will be renewed by the Egyptian Football Association given the disappointing nature of their World Cup campaign, but the Argentine is refusing to walk away.

"I'm not going to go away," he said in a post-match press conference.  

"My contract came to an end because we agreed that it would come to an end after the World Cup - we will see what happens now.

"We have a meeting so we will see what happens when we get to Cairo."

Mohamed Salah - whose international future has been the subject of intense speculation this week - had earlier opened the scoring for Egypt with a fine finish before Salam Al-Faraj had equalised from the penalty spot - just minutes after Essam El Hadary had saved Fahad Al-Muwallad's spot-kick.

Cuper was quick to dismiss talk that Salah will retire from international football and praised his performance - despite not getting the requisite support from his team-mates.

When asked if he thinks Salah will retire, Cuper said: "I don't think it's true because all the players out here really appreciate the opportunity to play for the national team so I don't think that's true.

"I think he has played a great game. Maybe he was not able to do what he normally does, but he scored and had another opportunity.

"He did play well but maybe we could have expected more. He can't be the only one to play, though. He needs help and support from his team-mates like he gives to them. I think he played a very good game."

El Hadary's inclusion in the team means he is the oldest-ever player at the World Cup at the age of 45 years and 161 days and he marked his moment in the spotlight with that wonderful penalty save.

Cuper added: "We knew that our goalkeepers were very similar. We decided he should play the last game and it's true that it is a special record and many people in Egypt love and support him.

"He played a great game and I guess everyone in Egypt is happy about it."