Monday, 17 December, 2018

Hector Cuper: 'I couldn't risk using Mohamed Salah against Uruguay'

Mohamed Salah Mohamed Salah scored 44 goals for Liverpool in all competitions in 2017-18
Sergio Cook | 20 June, 2018, 02:15

Mohamed Salah is expected to be fit to start for Egypt in their opening 2018 Russia World Cup game against Uruguay on Friday.

The key to Egypt's campaign will be Mohamed Salah's fitness as he recovers from the shoulder injury he suffered during May's UEFA Champions League final.

"We still have to see how training goes today, but I can nearly assure you 100 percent that he'll play, we are all very optimistic that he will be on the pitch", Cuper announced on Thursday.

Egyptian fans react as they watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Egypt and Uruguay at the FIFA fan zone in Moscow, Russia, 16 June 2018.

Uruguay as a team struggled, particularly in the first half, but this inability to live up to their potential was personified in the form of the attacker. But his World Cup dream was left on the brink when he exited the final three weeks ago in tears after Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos wrestled him to the ground.

Uruguay sprang no surprises, with Diego Godin captaining the side and Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front. Marwan Mohsen as a lone striker is not likely to be enough for the team at this year's tournament.

This will be the first time since 2006 that these nations have faced each other, with Uruguay winning that friendly 2-0 in their one and only meeting with Egypt.

Anything but a win against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) would be a surprise. Russia's game is fateful and hard because of our defeat against Uruguay. Perhaps Cuper was conserving Salah for Egypt's remaining two games, but the Argentinian could have risked him.

Uruguay were guilty of being overly pedestrian and pedestrian with their passing, though, while they were also hampered by a lack of natural width as Nahitan Nandes and Giorgian De Arrascaeta continually drifted infield.

"This is football, in our history of football", Tabarez said.

Friday's game was played a day after the end of Ramadan, the holy month that requires Muslims to fast and refrain from drinking or eating from sunrise to sunset.

Finally, Uruguay broke the dead-lock from an unlikely source of defender Jose Gimenez who jumped to meet a cross from the right side of the pitch to sent the ball nestling in the net.

Despite their defeat, Egypt can take positives from a solid and organized display at the back.

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