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Egypt vs Uruguay
2018 FIFA World Cup, Match 2, June 14 - fulltime
|Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg, Russia|
Uruguay have pulled their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup match out of the fire, scoring a late goal to sink a brave Egypt.
Without their best player in Mo Salah, Egypt were solid from the start of the match and if anything, had the better of the opporutnities in the first half. They looked the more dangerous of the two sides, but simply couldn’t capitalise.
The trend slowly wore off in the second half as the superior fitness of Urugay paid off, Jose Gimenez eventually making their chances count, heading home a free kick in the 89th minute.
Uruguay were able to hang onto their slender lead and take the three points, but it didn’t come as easily as they would have wanted, with the pressure now on Egypt to beat Russia and Saudi Arabia in a bid to quality out of Group A.
Egypt face a daunting task in their opening FIFA World Cup match when they take on South American giants Uruguay. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 10pm (AEST).
Group A is the weakest at the World Cup, but Uruguay are a team who have the power to progress a long way through the tournament. It would come as a major shock if they didn’t top the group and top it easily.
Whether Egypt are even able to compete in this match comes down to whether gun Liverpool striker Mo Salah, who was undoubtedly the best player on the planet in the last 12 months, is fit.
He injured his shoulder in a messy tackle from Spain captain Sergio Ramos during the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid and has been in a race against the clock ever since to prove his fitness for their opener against Uruguay.
Still, Egyptian coach Hector Cuper can’t only rely on Salah, who will provide plenty at the front, but won’t be able to do much in the way of stopping Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at the back.
Uruguay’s only played one lead-up match before the World Cup, smacking Uzbekistan 3-0 in a dominant performance. Stretching back to March though, they beat Wales and the Czech Republic quite convincingly, following a strong qualification campaign.
The South American nation’s attack will be their strongest asset, with the side finishing second behind Brazil in qualification and scoring an average of nearly two goals per game for the entirety of the last qualification stage.
If Suarez and Cavani are put into space by their midfield in this game, they could run riot against an Egyptian defence, who lost 3-0 to Belgium and only managed a draw with Kuwait in the lead-up to the Cup.
No one outside of Salah in the Pharoah’s squad has scored more than ten international goals, so it’s hard to see where their production will come from, with the game likely to be played at the other end of the pitch either way.
Uruguay are going to win this match, make no mistake. The only question really is what the margin of victory will be. They will probably get at least three on the board and maybe more. If Salah plays, then there is half a chance Egypt will score one themselves, but it’s hard to see that happening.
Uruguay 4 – Egypt 0.
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