History-making keeper Essam El Hadary has apologised to his nation for Egypt’s exit despite saving a penalty in their 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.
El Hadary saved Fahad Al Muwallad’s first-half penalty but Salem Al Dawsari scored a winner for Saudi Arabia in stoppage time.
At 45 years and 161 days, El Hadary is now the oldest World Cup player ever.
“I apologise to the Egyptian people on my behalf, and for my colleagues, after the three defeats,” he said.
“I’m proud of what I have achieved and this achievement is worthy of Egypt.
“We tried and did not have luck – this is football.”
In a thrilling final group game Egypt – appearing at their first World Cup finals for 28 years – took the lead thanks to Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah’s lob in the 22nd minute, their first World Cup goal from open play since 1934.
But Salman Al Faraj scored a spot-kick for Saudi Arabia seconds before half-time, just five minutes after El Hadary had saved Al Muwallad’s effort, and Al Dawsari fired in the winner with seconds left to secure the Saudis’ first World Cup win since 1994.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper says he hopes “everyone in Egypt is happy” that El Hadary beat the record of Colombia keeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 years and three days old when he appeared at Brazil 2014.
“There is not much between our three goalkeepers but he was the right person to play today,” said Cuper.
He also dismissed suggestions Salah could retire from international football because he is unhappy about being over-used for publicity purposes.
“I don’t think that’s true. He really appreciates every opportunity he gets to play for the national team,” insisted the manager.
Egypt finished bottom of Group A and failed to pick up a point, losing against Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia.