Mohamed Salah is expected to finally make his World Cup bow as Egypt look to get their campaign back on track against host nation Russia on Tuesday.
2018 FIFA World Cup
19 June 2018
Kick-off: 02:00 HKT (20 June)
Venue: Saint Petersburg Stadium
Referee: E. Caceres
Assistants: E. Cardozo, J. Zorrilla
Fourth official: C. Cakir
Fifth official: B. Duran
Players to watch:
For Egypt, the key man will undoubtedly be Salah. They put on a superb collective performance against Uruguay, but were not clinical enough to capitalise upfront and went down 1-0.
Fresh off a record-breaking campaign which saw him net 32 Premier League goals in his first season at Liverpool, Salah is likely to provide the spark needed upfront for the Pharaohs.
Russia thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament opener thanks to a brace from Denis Cheryshev and a fine performance from Aleksandr Golovin, who provided assists for two goals and scored one of his own.
Cheryshev and Golovin will be looking to continue their good form against an Egyptian defence which was solid against Uruguay.
Team form and manager quotes:
Russia’s opening-day victory came on the back of a disappointing build-up to the World Cup, which saw them lose to Brazil, France and Austria and draw with Turkey.
Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov has warned against complacency, saying: “The World Cup is just beginning. We won 5-0 and got three points. We could have played 1-1 and nothing would have changed. This is a tournament.”
Egypt also endured a less than impressive build-up, but the game against Uruguay yielded promising signs. Head coach Hector Cuper has promised fans that Salah will have an “important role” to play in turning their fortunes around.
“We wanted to avoid risks in [the Uruguay] match, but I think he will be fine for the next game,” Cuper said.
With Salah likely to return to the fold, Tarek Hamed also looks set to start for Egypt, despite having suffered a back injury against Uruguay.
Meanwhile, Russia will be without Alan Dzagoev, who picked up a hamstring injury and is likely to miss the remainder of the group stages.