Egypt coach tips Salah to play to­day

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - (AFP)

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

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