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Russia vs Egypt
2018 FIFA World Cup, Group A
|Saint Petersburg Stadium|
Egypt’s World Cup campaign is effectively over after they fell to a 3-1 loss to Russia despite a late goal to star man Mohamed Salah.
It was game Egypt could not afford to lose and they started off the game looking like a team under pressure.
The Egyptians gave the ball away several times early in the first half and nearly gifted Russia two early goals.
The Russians however failed to capitalise and Egypt slowly started to settle their nerves.
Despite settling into the game they struggled to deal with Russia who made them absorb a lot of pressure.
Russia constantly looked dangerous driving forward but failed to put much on target.
It was a similar story for Egypt in their brief periods moving forward, with Salah looking the likeliest to score for his side.
In the end the half ended scoreless.
Early in the second half though, Egypt’s luck ran out.
A bizarre own goal by Ahmed Fathy gave Russia the lead and put Egypt in a really bad spot.
Then shortly after some poor defending allowed Fernandes to cut the ball back in the box for Cheryshev to place the ball into the back of the net.
That was Cheryshev’s third goal of the competition.
Three minutes later Russia bagged their third, as some good control in the box off a long ball by Dzyuba saw him control the ball well, bring it down and place it into the net.
Salah restored some hope and pride for Egypt, winning a penalty and converting it well.
It was the first goal Egypt had scored in this World Cup and first one Russia had conceded.
It would just be a consolation goal in the end, as Egypt’s hopes at a Round of 16 places were dashed.
Host-nation Russia on the other hand booked a much-deserved place in the next round.
Russia will aim to book their spot in the Round of 16 when they take on a desperate Egypt in Saint Petersburg. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 4am (AEST).
The opening games of the World Cup in Group A went to script in terms of who won, but the way they were played was slightly unexpected, with Russia and Egypt both proving themselves.
Russia, opening the tournament in Moscow against Saudi Arabia, held their opponents scoreless while putting five goals into the back of the net themselves.
They were always the heavy favourite, but to win in such a convincing fashion was more than a little bit unexpected. It took them a little while to get going, but they buried the game early in the second half and then held the advantage all the way to the end of the match, scoring another two in injury time.
Egypt mightn’t have taken the points from their opening game – one which gun forward Mo Salah missed through his shoulder injury – but they certainly did catch the attention of the World as the African nation took Uruguay all the way to the finish line.
Uruguay were expected to dominate Group A without a step back, but they struggled to get past an Egyptian side who were careful with the ball and very strong in defence with only one let down against a very strong Uruguayan side on paper.
The bottom line though is that Egypt lost and must find a way to bounce back or their tournament will reach the end. Even a draw may not be enough to keep their chances alive here, with Uruguay expected to move to six points with a match against the Saudis.
A draw will leave the African nation needing a for and against miracle, so they have no choice but to come out swinging in this match against a Russian team who can secure their spot in the Round of 16 with a draw in each of their coming matches.
The biggest deciding factor of this match will be whether Salah is back or not. If he is and Egypt are at full strength up front, they could well poach victory.
This is going to be a cracking match whichever way it turns out with so much on the line. Expect some goals, but the teams look pretty even.
Russia 2 – 2 Egypt
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Preview written by Scott Pryde.