Coming off a last minute loss to Uruguay in their opening match, Egypt will look to get their World Cup campaign back on track when they square up to tournament hosts Russia tomorrow and barring any last minute problems, they’ll have star attacker Mohamed Salah back in the starting line-up tomorrow.
The Liverpool winger, who was an unused substitute as the Pharaohs saw their hopes of snatching a point against the South Americans go up in flames, will be ready for action when they kick-off tomorrow in Saint Petersburg and will almost certainty provide the Egyptians the kind of attacking edge they so desperately need — a factor that Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov has been planning for.
“What can I say? I trust in my team. I believe in my players and I will give you a simple answer,” said the Russia boss, sounding confident. “We are ready to do this and we will do this,” stressed Cherchesov before brushing off suggestions that they’ll take a similar approach to Real Madrid during the Champions League final. “Is someone going to behave as Ramos behaved? I don’t understand the question,” he said, sounding genuinely confused. “I saw that he was holding the cup of the Champions League and tomorrow there will be no cup,” added the Russian. “I believe that Ramos did not do this on purpose. This is a contact sport and, as I understand, no one injures people from other teams on purpose.”
Having claimed the Premier League Golden Boot and Player of the Season along with a whole host of other awards, Salah was in tip-top form as the Reds ran out in UEFA’s showpiece event only to injure his shoulder during a first half tangle with the Spaniard.
Forget that he spent the last couple of weeks on the sidelines, the 26-year old will still be the most dangerous player on the pitch. Russia, after absolutely smashing Saudi Arabia in their first match, will be rolling in to tomorrow’s match with one foot in to the knock-out rounds, but they know that the threat that Salah provides will be their biggest hurdle to securing a spot in the Round of 16.
“I think it’s inappropriate and wrong to single out someone in the Egyptian team,” said Russia captain Igor Akinfeev when asked about the Liverpool striker. “There are other footballers besides Salah,” added the ‘keeper, shifting the attention away from the winger. “We’ll look at the result after the match.”