News
Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah’s history at the World Cup: Play-off heartache & injury pain for Egypt talisman

14:26 EAT 25/03/2022
Mohamed Salah Egypt
The Liverpool superstar has only graced one global showpiece in his career to date, and even that outing was impacted by fitness problems

Mohamed Salah’s performances at club level with Liverpool have allowed him to cement a standing among the global elite, but the Egypt international is yet to make a telling contribution for his country on a World Cup stage.

That is not entirely his own fault, with sporting fate often conspiring against a man who would like nothing more than to showcase his undoubted ability to the full at the biggest footballing event on the planet.

What does his record at that level look like and what has gone wrong for a forward that is clinging to the hope that there will be better days to come for him when rubbing shoulders with the best in the business? GOAL casts an eye over Salah’s exploits to date.

Mohamed Salah and the 2014 World Cup

Salah was a matter of days away from completing a move to European football at Swiss side FC Basel when he made his first telling contribution in a World Cup fixture.

That outing came on June 10, 2012 when he netted a stoppage-time winner for Egypt in an important qualification clash with Guinea.

Almost a year later, on June 9, 2013, Salah hit a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory over Zimbabwe, before registering another decisive effort in a narrow victory over Zimbabwe a week later.

In total, he found the target on six occasions in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, with that return enough to make him the joint-top goalscorer in the CAF section.

Salah’s efforts were, however, ultimately in vain as Egypt came unstuck against Ghana at the play-off stage.

A crushing 6-1 first-leg defeat left the Pharaohs with a mountain to climb and, despite prevailing 2-1 on home soil in a return date of that contest, collective dreams were dashed.

Mohamed Salah and the 2018 World Cup

Salah was a Premier League superstar at Liverpool by the time the business end of a qualification quest was reached for the 2018 World Cup, with the third and final round of that process getting under way in October 2016.

Egypt’s talisman once again topped the goalscoring charts across six games, with the target found on five occasions.

Only two other players hit the net for the Pharaohs when collecting 13 points from a possible 18, with Salah’s most important contribution coming in a 2-1 victory over Congo – with his stoppage-time penalty sending Egypt to their first World Cup finals since 1990.

He was expected to thrive on a global stage in Russia, but an infamous challenge from Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final of 2018 meant that an in-form performer was far from being in peak condition when a major tournament rolled around.

Salah was able to recover from a shoulder injury in time to figure for his country, and found the target on two occasions after sitting out an opening group-stage encounter, but Egypt bowed out with no points to their name and a serious sense of what could have been.

Mohamed Salah and the 2022 World Cup

Rather surprisingly, given his previous qualification exploits and remarkable standards being set at club level, Salah did not register a single goal for Egypt during the second round of qualifying for the 2022 finals.

He did, however, help to secure top spot in the Pharaohs’ group and a place in the play-offs.

Hopes of reaching back-to-back World Cups were hindered considerably when being drawn against Senegal – and the familiar figure of Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane – in a two-legged tie to determine who fills one of the five spots up for grabs from the African section at Qatar 2022.

Mohamed Salah World Cup finals record

Tournaments reached

Games played

Minutes played

Goals scored

1

2

180

2

Table correct at time of writing on 25/03/2022