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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

WATCH: Egypt and Salah fans down after defeat to Russia in World Cup

Excitement that gripped streets of Cairo subsided as game dragged on, with many fans criticising manager Hector Cuper's tactics as ultimately losing them game

Egyptian fans watch the World Cup on a giant screen at Al Jazeera youth club in Cairo. AP
Egyptian fans watch the World Cup on a giant screen at Al Jazeera youth club in Cairo. AP

Egyptians' hopes for securing a spot in the second round of the World Cup were slashed after a 3-1 defeat against Russia on Tuesday that moved the latter to the top of Group A with six points.

Egypt's Ahmed Fathi's outstretched leg turned the ball into his own net, followed closely by two other strikes within a 15-minute span of the second half.

Russia's Denis Cheryshev made it 2-0 in the 59th minute, and a third goal followed just two minutes later by Artem Dzyuba.

Many Egyptians threw their weight behind Mohamed Salah, who broke records in the Premier League last season with Liverpool, to score on football's biggest stage.

Salah, who had a subdued game on his return from injury, found the back of the net once with a penalty awarded to Egypt after a video assistant referee ruled he was brought down by Roman Zobnin.

But the excitement that gripped the streets of downtown Cairo before the match slowly subsided as the game dragged on, with many fans criticising manager Hector Cuper's tactics as ultimately losing them the game.

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Read more:

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"His [Cuper] defence strategy doesn't allow for anyone to attack," one fan said. "He plays with four in the front, Abdallah Said, Mohamed Salah, Trezeguet [Mahmoud Hassan] nobody else, how will we every get goals or win?

"We will never win, we'll just keep on losing just like this."

Egypt, whose final group game is against Saudi Arabia, have only the slimmest of chances of staying in the tournament, although they will at least be hopeful of picking up a first win in what is their third World Cup.

But one fan was cynical.

"That's it for us, let's just go home, and in 30 years' time we can think about qualifying for another World Cup," he said.

Another supporter drew a dreary picture for the entire region.

"That's it for us, we won't continue, no Arab country will," he said. "It will be a difficult match for Tunisia against Belgium, who we lost to [in the friendly match before the World Cup]. Morocco will play Spain in a match that will also be difficult for them, so none of us will make it."