Getting to know Egypt: In the World Cup for the first time since 1990 and they’ve only ever played in four World Cup games in their history, failing to ever win a match.
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They are the most successful team in African history in terms of the Africa Cup of Nations with seven titles, but that glory has never translated to the world stage. For more history on Egypt, click here.
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What group are they in? Egypt are in Group A alongside hosts Russia, heavy underdogs Saudi Arabia and a Uruguay team packed with talent as Luis Suarez leads their charge. This was perhaps the easiest group they could’ve got with Russia unfancied and Saudi Arabia unlikely to make much of a mark in the tournament. You’d say that Egypt and Uruguay should breeze through to the Round of 16.
Game schedule – Group A – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here
Friday, June 15: Egypt v Uruguay, Ekaterinburg 8am ET
Tuesday, June 19: Russia v Egypt, St Petersburg 2pm ET
Monday, June 25: Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd 10am ET
Projected lineup (4-3-3) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full
—– El-Hadary —–
— Fathy — Hegazi — Gabr — Shafy
—- Hamed —- El-Said —- Elneny —-
—- Salah —- Koka —- Trezeguet —-
Star player: Mohamed Salah – It’s clear that Salah is Egypt’s standout player and the Liverpool star is coming off a sensational season for Liverpool after winning the Golden Boot for the most goals scored in the Premier League and taking the Reds to the UEFA Champions League final. Salah’s shoulder injury in Liverpool’s UCL final loss to Real Madrid was a big blow for Egypt, but it seems as though he will make a speedy recovery and will make some kind of appearance in the World Cup. In his homeland he’s become a God-like figure and if Salah can deliver memorable moments and a first World Cup win for Egypt, he will truly become an Egyptian King.
Manager: Hector Cuper – A vastly experienced (and much traveled) Argentine coach who has benefited greatly from the group of talent Egypt had coming through all at the same time with Salah, Ahmed Hegazi and Mohamed Elneny leading the way. After losing to Cameroon in the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, the Egyptian FA backed their man and that worked out to be a great decision. Cuper will set up Egypt to be solid defensively and then rely on Salah to deliver the goals.
Secret weapon: It would be easy to say Salah, but he’s not really a secret, is he? The support of the Egyptian people is their secret weapon. Salah’s otherworldly season has helped him become a superstar and create even more excitement around the Pharaohs’ return to the World Cup.
Prediction: Egypt start up with their toughest game of the group stage against Uruguay but if they can grab a draw then that will set them up nicely for games against Russia and Saudi Arabia. It feels like Egypt will make the Round of 16 after finishing in second place behind Uruguay in the group stage. Facing either Portugal or Spain in the last 16 means that will likely be the end of the tournament. But with Salah around, who knows?