Mohamed Salah (L) of Egypt reacts from the bench
Monday Jun 18, 2018. 13:00
Egypt will look to bounce back when they face 2018 World Cup hosts and Group A rivals Russia at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, kick-off at 20h00 CAT.
Egypt come into the game having suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of Uruguay in their opening match last Friday in Yekaterinburg. The South Americans scored late in the game through Jose Gimenez to break Pharaohs’ hearts on their return to the global stage.
Yet the North Africans put up a strong showing against Uruguay – even in the absence of Mohamed Salah, who should make a full return to the team for this must-win clash – and will be confident that they can topple the group leaders Russia.
Following their 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the tournament’s opening game on Thursday evening, Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will be full of confidence and hopeful of claiming another three points, which would put them on the verge of qualifying for the last 16.
Their victory over the Saudis in Moscow arrived courtesy of goals from Yury Gazinskiy, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovin and Denis Cheryshev. The latter was particularly impressive as a substitute after key man Alan Dzagoev succumbed to a hamstring injury, and he will fancy his chances of starting against the Pharaohs in Saint Petersburg.
‘Sbornaya’ may also see goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev be a more influential figure against the North Africans, who should pose more of a goal threat than the ‘Green Falcons’ did.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper will want his side to play on the counter attack against Russia, drawing their opponents in before using pace and width in response. The hosts were almost caught on the break a couple of times in the opening game by Saudi Arabia, who lack the skill and speed in attack that Egypt can call upon, especially if and when Salah returns.
There is no previous history between the teams, who will be meeting for the first time in this World Cup clash. Russia have confidence, momentum and the home-ground advantage, but they will find Egypt a far more difficult proposition.
Russia v Egypt – head-to-head
N/A – This will be their first meeting.