Years of work to make sure ball has little bearing on World Cup

14 June 2018 6:05 AM

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Tim Cahill may be the veteran of the Socceroos at the ripe old age of 38 but he's a babe in the woods compared to the oldest player in the tournament, Egypt's skipper Essam el-Hadary.

The 150-cap goalkeeper will make history as not only oldest player in the finals but the oldest player to ever take part in the tournament. At 45, he will overtake Colombian keeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he appeared four years ago.

It's his first World Cup and he's older than three of the current coaches. He told the BBC that he credits his longevity with a long ice bath every day and that he was fulfilling a dream of his late father.

"My age is 45, but for me, this is just a number on paper," El-Hadary said. "My father, who passed away, told me that his dream was to watch me playing at a World Cup and I want to make my dad proud."

There were fears that this World Cup would be marred by racism. Enter a handful of Russian politicians.

One legislator insists she is not a "nationalist" but has urged the country's women not to have sex with "non-white" foreigners during the World Cup, for fear they mother mixed-race children. Tamara Pletnyova, the head of parliament’s committee for families, women and children, made the plea in response to questions about the so-called 'Children of the Olympics' in the wake of the 1980 Moscow Games.

That term was used in the Soviet era to describe non-white children conceived at internatinal events, many of which suffered discrimination in the former USSR.


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