World Cup Preview – Group A | Egypt v Uruguay

Group A favourites Uruguay open up their World Cup campaign against Egypt, who many believe will be their biggest rivals.

The former World Cup winners boast one of the most feared forward lines with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani on hand.

Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez is happy with his line-up but ahead of the opening game he admits they have their mind on Mohamed Salah – Egypt’s star man, but who is a major doubt to play after being injured in the Champions League final.

“We have a lot of information about Egypt as we have been following them for a long time,” he added.

“Because of his characteristics, you need to take care about how you occupy spaces,” Tabarez told reporters on Monday.

“But I think that changing all of our preparations for that reason (Salah`s probable absence) is over the top. We don`t even know for sure if he is going to play or not. If he plays, we will have to take precautions because of his very high level.”

Egypt boss Hector Cuper was quick to insist that Egypt are more than just Mo Salah.

“We’re not Mohamed Salah’s national team, this team has many players who cooperate with each other to reach the best results,” Cuper said.

“Egypt is lucky that this generation has one of the best players in the world but our tactics don’t solely revolve around him. Argentina also has Lionel Messi, can we tell them not to play him? This doesn’t happen.

“I understand that the fans sometimes prefer things to be done in a different way and like when Salah performs well, a goalkeeper or a defender can save us from a dangerous opportunity and there is a midfielder that can run a lot for the benefit of the team.

“The most important thing is that the team finds a good balance in its performance.”

See below for a preview on the games, including predictions from former England and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and bet365’s Steve Freeth.

Egypt 13:00 Uruguay
Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
Live on BBC

TEAM NEWS AND POSSIBLE LINE-UPS:  The big question is will Mo Salah play following his shoulder problem? Both teams will be waiting anxiously to find out the result.

Egypt: Mohamed El Shenawy; Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Abdel Shafi; Tarek Hamed, Mohamed El Neny, Mahmoud Trezeguet, Abdulla Said; Ramadhan Sobhi, Marwan Mohsen.

Uruguay: Fernando Muslera; Guillermo Varela, Jose Maria Gimenez, Diego Godin, Martin Caceres; Nahitan Nandez, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Giorgian De Arrascaeta; Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez.

KEY FACT: Mo Salah will be anxious to play as it is also his birthday
Match odds from bet365: EGYPT 6/1 DRAW 13/5 URUGUAY 13/20
bet365 Pick: Uruguay to win 1-0 @9/2
ANDY SAYS: Has to be a Uruguay win, they look too strong for Egypt for me…0-2
GRAEME SAYS: Whether Sallah plays or not could have a major bearing on this but will say Uruguay to edge it…1-2
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Mo Salah is third in the Index as we speak, could he end as number one? Quite possibly

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