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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Mohamed Salah plays down retirement rumours after Egypt bow out of World Cup with defeat to Saudi Arabia

Liverpool star scored in both games he played in Russia but it was not enough to save his team from finishing bottom of Group A

Mohamed Salah scored the opening goal for Egypt against Saudi Arabia in the 2-1 defeat. Darren Staples / Reuters
Mohamed Salah scored the opening goal for Egypt against Saudi Arabia in the 2-1 defeat. Darren Staples / Reuters

Mohamed Salah suggested there is no substance to rumours of international retirement after the Egypt forward bowed out of the World Cup with defeat to Saudi Arabia on Monday.

The Liverpool star, who missed the opening Group A match as he recovered from a shoulder injury sustained in last month’s Uefa Champions League final, has endured a difficult time in Russia despite scoring two goals.

Aside from his delayed tournament debut, Salah’s interaction with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – the team’s World Cup base was in Grozny – attracted significant negative publicity. Then on Sunday, CNN reported that subsequently Salah was considering retiring from his national team, something the Egypt FA denied.

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Salah was asked after the 2-1 defeat to Saudi, an encounter in which he notched the opener and was named man of the match, if he would take to social media to clarify his situation. He replied: “No tweets, because no problem.”

The result means Egypt finish bottom of their pool, with no points from three games. Their quest for a first World Cup victory – this was their third appearance at the finals and first in 28 years – continues.

Asked if Salah, 26, was about to give up on international football, manager Hector Cuper said: “I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s true because all those who are here, and lots who couldn’t come, really, really appreciate the opportunity to play for their national team. So I don’t think that’s true.

“I think Salah has played a great game. Maybe he was not able to do what he normally does, what we’re used to, but he scored. He had another opportunity, I think it was offside, but he did play well.

“Maybe we could have expected more, but he cannot be the only one to give everything. He needs help and support from his teammates as he supports his teammates.”