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Egypt pins hope on Salah in vital clash against host Russia

SAINT PETERSBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Looking into its match on Tuesday evening against Russia fresh from a 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia, Egypt pins its hope on the return of ace player Mohamed Salah.

Salah missed Egypt’s opening World Cup Group A match against Uruguay where the Pharaohs lost 1-0 and coach Cuper Hector hoped his top star could recover in time from his shoulder injury for the match against host Russia, who clinched the biggest win by a host in the World Cup opening game since 1934.

“Mohamed Salah is one of the best players and among the top 10 in the world ... Hopefully tomorrow he will make it,” said the 62-year-old Hector.

The forward, who was the recipient of the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2017-18 season, scored 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season and netted 70 percent of all Egypt’s goals in qualifying. His appearance will be crucial for Egypt who is in its first World Cup since Italy 1990.

Hector said that they had physical tests before the matches and he hoped this time Salah could be fit enough to pass the test. “He is central piece in our team,” he said.

“We know how difficult the next match is,” he added. “We have already chosen our path forward, and we will go all out to win the next three points...The more you increase the level of competition, the more demanding the test is. We have our style.”

At the press conference on Monday afternoon, reporters also threw questions about Salah to the Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov. With five goals in its first match, Russia is quite likely to secure a position for the knockout stage should it achieve another win.

“Every team has a player who deserves special attention, but we are against a team,” Cherchesov said. “Tomorrow we will see if he plays, but we are ready for any eventuality.”

He noted that the Egyptian team has some similarity with Saudi Arabia. “We have studied the team Egypt and we should use their weaknesses,” he said.

“I trust my team, I believe in my players. We are ready to do this and we will do this,” he said.

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Egyptian coach Cuper Hector wishes to have Salah play against Russia

SAINT PETERSBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- While Egypt is preparing to play its World Cup group match against host Russia, coach Cuper Hector told the press here on Monday that he hoped that Salah would be able to play.

“Mohamed Salah is one of the best players and among the top 10 in the world ... Hopefully tomorrow he will make it,” said the 62-year-old Argentinian tactician.

Russia 2018 marks Egypt’s first World Cup since Italy 1990. In its first match the Pharaohs lost to Uruguay 1-0.

Hector said that they had physical tests before the matches and he hoped this time Salah could be fit enough to pass the test. “He is central piece in our team,” he said.

Salah, who scored 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season and netted 70 percent of all Egypt’s goals in qualifying, was unable to play in the first match due to his shoulder injury from Liverpool’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on May 26.

“We know how difficult the next match is,” he added. “We have already chosen our path forward, and we will go all out to win the next three points...The more you increase the level of competition, the more demanding the test is. We have our style.”

Also attending the press conference was Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. At 45, he is World Cup’s oldest player.

Talking about the football used for the World Cup this time, which has drawn criticism, he admitted: “the football might be more acceptable to players than to goalkeepers.”  “Yes the ball has some problems, but we are not the only team to face it. All the goalkeepers face it. As a goalkeeper we have to be ready, whatever the quality of the ball and whatever shape it is.”

In Group A along with Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Russia, Egypt will face the host on Tuesday evening, after Russia started with a stunning 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia in the opening match, a result believed to be the biggest win by a host in the World Cup opening game since 1934.

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Russian coach downplays worries about Salah ahead of Egypt clash

SAINT PETERSBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov stressed that his side is going up against a team, not just a single player, in comments made here on Monday, a day before their match against Egypt.

It is to be their second game in Group A.

Cherchesov, 54, gave the remarks when asked about their preparation against Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool forward, who was the recipient of the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2017-18 season, is likely to return from injury following Egypt’s loss to Uruguay.

Russia, currently on top of Group A, will play Egypt on Tuesday evening here in Saint Petersburg. If it can achieve another victory, the team might be able to book a ticket to the knockout stage.

“Every team has a player who deserves special attention, but we are against a team,” Cherchesov said. “Tomorrow we will see if he plays, but we are ready for any eventuality.”

“I trust my team, I believe in my players. We are ready to do this and we will do this,” he said.

The Russia World Cup got off to an impressive and historical start for the hosts, who won over Saudi Arabia 5-0, a result believed to be the biggest win by a host nation in the World Cup opening game since 1934.

“We have already scored as a winner. Now we have to leave it behind. It is good history, but we have to look ahead and turn over new page in Saint Petersburg,” Cherchesov said.

He noted that the Egyptian team has some similarity with Saudi Arabia. “We have studied the team Egypt and we should use their weaknesses,” he said.

He apparently doesn’t want to comment on other teams, saying that the team is concentrating on the second match. “If we don’t go through the second, we could not get any further. Fans are supporting us more after the first game, and tomorrow we have another obstacle and will overcome it...I hope we have a chance to play them (other teams) in the quarterfinal, semifinal and the final.”

Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev told press that they are less nervous now. “We are in good mood,” he said. “A good mood brings good results...Nothing should stand between us and beautiful football.”

The team added set-pieces in the last training session before the match against Egypt. Midfielder Alan Dzagoev, who was injured in the previous match, was absent.

             

 

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