Egypt coach tips Salah to play today
EGYPT coach Hector Cuper said that star striker Mohamed Salah has recovered from his shoulder injury and will almost certainly play in its World Cup opener against Uruguay today.
Salah’s return is a massive boost for Egypt and for the tournament because it means one of the hottest players on the planet at the moment will be in action.
“We still have to see how training goes today, but I can almost assure you 100 percent that he’ll play, we are all very optimistic that he will be on the pitch,” Cuper said yesterday, shortly before leading out his squad for training at Ekaterinburg Arena — with Salah among them.
The 62-year-old Argentine added: “Salah is very good and he’s recovered very quickly.”
Salah, who sustained the injury in Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on May 26, is crucial to Egypt’s hopes of making it out of a weaklooking Group A also featuring host Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Egypt plays Uruguay — tipped by some as the dark horse — in just the second game of the tournament, following Russia against Saudi Arabia in the opening match yesterday.
Salah was one of the outstanding players in the world this season as he helped propel Liverpool to the UCL final. But his World Cup dream was left on the brink when he exited the UCL final three weeks ago in tears after Real skipper Sergio Ramos wrestled him to the ground.
Salah, who turns 26 on the day of the game, gave 100 million frantic Egyptians a huge lift on Wednesday when he joined a squad training session at the team’s Grozny base.
And Cuper hinted yesterday that it was the player who had the final decision whether to play. “Doctors are giving him the option. If he (Salah) does decide to play he will have full guarantee (about his condition) and I am sure that he will be fine.”
Top: (From left) singer Robbie Williams, soprano Aida Garifullina, World Cup mascot Zabivaka and Brazil ex-striker Ronaldo during the opening ceremony in Moscow yesterday. Above: Egypt forward Mohamed Salah takes part in a training session in Ekaterinburg on the eve of their opening Group A match against Uruguay. — AFP