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World Cup warm up: Egypt boosted by Salah return ahead of tough Uruguay match

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World Cup warm up: Egypt boosted by Salah return ahead of tough Uruguay match

 

 In just over 24 hours, Egypt will play their first World Cup game since 1990 and the Pharaohs are boosted by the return to fitness of star man Mohamed Salah.

 

Egypt head coach Hector Cuper has been building towards this moment for the last three years after being placed in charge in the spring of 2015.

 

The African outfit were handed a dream draw in December, alongside Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia, and will hope to progress to the knockout phase for the first time.

 

Preparations have not been ideal, Salah unable to take part in any of their warm up matches, but they will be delighted to have the Liverpool star back in training and seemingly ready to go on Friday.

 

Trezeguet finished last season as the highest WhoScored rated player in the Turkish Super Lig (7.53 rating), but Salah’s availability infinitely boosts the probability of a top-two finish.

 

Salah’s chances of making Egypt’s group opener looked bleak at one stage, but now he looks set to start against Uruguay, who will prove Egypt’s toughest opponents on paper in Group A.

 

World Cup warm up: Egypt boosted by Salah return ahead of tough Uruguay match

Full team news and odds in our match preview

 

The 25-year-old scored 32 goals in 36 league appearances for Liverpool last season, only missing out on the Golden Shoe in Europe’s top five leagues to Argentina international Leo Messi (34).

 

If there ever a defensive partnership you would back to stop Salah, it would likely be Atletico Madrid’s pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.

 

The Spanish side have kept at least six more clean sheets than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues since August 2015 (67), while none of their recognised continental rivals have conceded fewer goals in the same period (66).

 

It just so happens that Gimenez and Godin are also defensive partners for Uruguay and will be tasked with thwarting Salah. The Egyptian will likely have joy down Uruguay’s flanks, but it will be significantly more difficult if he occupies central areas.

 

Uruguay not only have a solid foundation, but they are also ridiculously well-stocked in attack, arguably boasting the best strike partnership at the 2018 World Cup.

 

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani scored 53 league goals between them last season and will prove a real handful for Egypt’s defence in the knowledge that keeping one quiet may not be good enough with the other lingering.

 

Given the quality of their remaining opponents in Group A, it’s likely that the winner of this match will go on to finish first and potentially set up a round of 16 clash against Euro 2016 winners Portugal or Morocco.

 

Writer Predictions:

 

Martin Laurence – Egypt 1-3 Uruguay

Ben McAleer – Egypt 0-2 Uruguay  

Josh Wright - Egypt 1-2 Uruguay

 

World Cup warm up: Egypt boosted by Salah return ahead of tough Uruguay match

World Cup warm up: Egypt boosted by Salah return ahead of tough Uruguay match

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