Salah fit for Egypt’s World Cup opener against Uruguay

Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah gestures as he takes part in a training session at Ekaterinburg Stadium in Ekaterinburg on June 14, 2018, a day ahead the team’s Russia 2018 World Cup Group A opening football match against Uruguay. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah is “almost 100%” certain to play in today’s World Cup opener against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg, says boss Hector Cuper.

Salah, 25, has not played since injuring shoulder ligaments during Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid on 26 May.

“I can almost assure you 100% he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute,” said Cuper.

“He could become the top goalscorer here and one of the greatest players.”

Cuper said Salah was “doing very well” and had recovered “very, very quickly”.

He added: “We’re trying to make him feel confident. The doctors are giving him the option to play or not, but I know Salah very well and I’m sure he’s not afraid, he’s not fearful.”

Defender Ali Gabr should also be fit to play after bruising his face in training.

Uruguay, meanwhile, are expected to name a youthful midfield featuring 20 year-old Rodrigo Bentancur and Nahitan Nandez, 22.

But they boast plenty of experience elsewhere, not least the potent frontline of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are the two other teams in Group A.

The build-up to this game has been dominated by the fitness of Salah.

He joined the squad for training on Wednesday, completing the warm-up and then finishing the rest of the session away from the group.

The team doctor said afterwards they were monitoring his progress “day by day”, and Cuper played down the importance of the forward, saying: “Our tactics don’t solely revolve around him.”

The fuss around the Liverpool star could well play into the hands of the Uruguayans, who seem to have gone under the radar despite being strong favourites to top Group A.

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