Mohamed Salah Will Start for Egypt against Russia

Mohamed Salah Will Start for Egypt against Russia

Tuesday, 19 June, 2018 - 16:45
Egypt's Mohamed Salah. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Mohamed Salah, Egypt’s star player, was included in his national team’s starting lineup in Group A’s second game at the World Cup where they will face hosts Russia on Tuesday.

Liverpool wizard Salah missed his side's 1-0 defeat by Uruguay on Friday as he struggled to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained during last month's Champions League final.

Egypt's Argentine coach Hector Cuper said on Monday Salah was fit to play but would undergo a test before kick-off in Saint Petersburg.

If Egypt lose, it will likely end their competitive involvement in their first World Cup since 1990.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was bullish that his team can rein in the explosive striker, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool.

"We know how to play against him," he said. "We are ready to stop Salah and we will."

Russia got their World Cup off to the perfect start on Thursday with a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, but are under no illusions that the seven-time African champions pose a far tougher test.

Russia will come to a standstill ahead of the kick-off in Saint Petersburg after Japan made history in the early game, beating 10-man Colombia 2-1 to become the first Asian side to conquer a South American team at a World Cup.

The complexion of the game was changed radically when Colombia's Carlos Sanchez was shown the first red card of Russia 2018 for handball in the opening minutes of the contest.

Shinji Kagawa scored from the penalty spot and although Juan Quintero equalised late in the first half, Japan made their superior numbers count, with Yuya Osako heading a winner in the 73rd minute.

Japan's build-up to Russia has been tumultuous after coach Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked in April and replaced by Akira Nishino despite steering the team to the finals.

But they will be delighted to start their Russian campaign with a victory after failing to notch a single win in Brazil four years ago -- including a painful 4-1 defeat at the hands of Colombia.

"I said at half-time that if we can keep the ball moving, we can deprive the Colombia players of their stamina," said Nishino.

"Our players were aggressive from the start and I think that worked very well for us. This is just one win and three points, so we will save our celebration."

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