What the world should expect as Egypt faces Uruguay on return to big stage
The Pharaohs are set for a tough World Cup Group A test against Uruguay on Friday.
In that period, the Pharaohs have achieved tremendously on the African scene, winning an impressive four Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophies within the last two decades.
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However, their record at the World Cup still remains a worry, having never truly made an impact at the Mundial.
Egypt’s best placing in the global showpiece has been a group stage exit. In two previous appearances at the World Cup, the North Africans have never quite managed to make it out of their group despite being the first African nation to play in the tournament.
However, this time the narrative is different as they prepare to take on South American giants Uruguay in their opening game in Russia.
In Mohamed Salah, the Pharaoh’s boast a genuine player who holds has the might to carry the hopes of the nation on his shoulders.
The Liverpool star has been Egypt’s go-to man since he emerged on the international scene at the age of 19. In 57 international games, Salah has netted an astonishing 33 times for the national team – a record which puts his strike rate at just over a goal every two games.
The 26-year-old’s influence in the Egypt team has even led to talk of Hector Cuper’s side being a one-man team. In six qualification games, the ex-Basel winger had a hand in all of the Pharaohs’ goals, scoring five and assisting a further two.
It is, therefore, not surprising that Salah’s injury woes have been a major issue of discussion in the build up to Egypt’s World Cup opener against Uruguay. Having severed his shoulder during Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League final loss to Real Madrid last month, Salah faces a race against time to be fit for the all-important clash.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper has suggested that the skillful winger may just be fit enough to face Uruguay on Friday, insisting "we are all very optimistic that he will be on the pitch."
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Having Salah in the team undoubtedly boosts Egypt’s chances of winning, but it would be erroneous for anyone to suggest that the team will fall flat without the Liverpool star.
In players like Mohamed Elneny, Ramadan Sobhi and Abdallah El Said, the Pharaohs boast a good breed of youth and experience who could trouble any side on a good day.
Facing Uruguay will be Egypt’s toughest test in Group A of the 2018 World Cup, but there is no doubt that the North Africans have what it takes to get the result, with or without Salah.
As Africa’s first team takes to the stage in Russia, all eyes will turn to the Ekaterinburg Arena as the world braces up for what Egypt has to offer when they face Uruguay.
An entire continent anticipates a good show from the Pharaohs!