FIFA World Cup 2018
Egypt Vs Uruguay
Friday, 15th June 2018 3pm
Egypt return to the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. Their last appearance at the coveted global event came in 1990 in Italy. Since then, the North African side have gone through several changes and generations but all have failed to play at the World Cup.
And now with the current crop destined for greatness and spearheaded by Liverpool star Mohammed Sarah, there is a lot of hope that Egypt will try and go against the bad omens at the World Cup.
The Pharaohs have never won a game at this stage and thus they will hope the jinx ends on Friday as they play Uruguay.
The biggest highlight however prior the game is the availability of Salah who is struggling with a shoulder injury he sustained in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid last month.
Egypt head coach Hector Cupper is confident the lethal forward who has been training with the team this week will be fit to face Uruguay.
Defender Ali Gabr who had sustained a slight injury during training is also back.
Uruguay on the other hand have no major concerns but will hugely rely on the duo of Luis Suarez and Ednison Cavani.
Uruguay beat Egypt in their only previous encounter, defeating them 2-0 in Alexandria in August 2006.
The Uruguayans are unbeaten against African opposition at the World Cup (W1, D2), while this will be Egypt’s first meeting with a South American side at the tournament.
Egypt have never won a game at the World Cup finals (D2, L2).
This is the Pharaohs’ first World Cup appearance since 1990 and their third overall. They lost 1-0 to England in their last game in the tournament.
Head coach Hector Cuper is making his World Cup debut as a head coach. His only previous major tournament in charge of Egypt saw them reach the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2017, where they lost 2-1 to Cameroon.
Goalkeeper and captain Essam El Hadary could become the oldest player in World Cup history (45 years and 151 days).
Mohamed Salah scored five goals in the third round of African qualifying, more than any other player.
Salah will celebrate his 26th birthday on the day of the game.
Two-time champions Uruguay have only progressed beyond the round of 16 once in their last six World Cup appearances, when they finished fourth in 2010.
Uruguay have only lost one of their last eight World Cup group games (W4, D3).
However, they have failed to win their opening game at the last six World Cup tournaments (D3, L3).
This is Oscar Tabarez’s fourth World Cup appearance as a head coach (1990, 2010, 2014 and 2018), more than any other coach at this year’s tournament.
Edinson Cavani was the top scorer in South American qualifying with 10 goals.
Luis Suarez has recorded five goals and two assists in eight World Cup games.
Additional information by BBC Sports.