Egypt’s Salah nearly re­cov­ered and ready to fire against Uruguay

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - WORLD CUP -

YEKA­TER­IN­BURG, Rus­sia: Egypt for­ward Mo­hamed Salah has re­cov­ered from a shoul­der in­jury and is al­most 100 per­cent cer­tain to play in their World Cup opener against Uruguay, coach Hec­tor Cu­per said Thurs­day, end­ing weeks of sus­pense about the fitness con­di­tion of his most dan­ger­ous striker.

Cu­per went fur­ther by pre­dict­ing on the eve of the match that Salah could emerge as one of the tour­na­ment’s most pro­lific goal scor­ers.

“Mo is do­ing very well in­deed. He’s re­cov­ered very, very quickly – we’ve paid a lot of at­ten­tion to him,” the veteran coach told a news con­fer­ence be­fore the squad’s last train­ing ses­sion ahead of Fri­day’s match. “I can al­most as­sure you 100 per­cent that he will play, save un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances at the very last minute.”

Salah, who scored 44 goals for Liver­pool last sea­son, in­jured shoul­der lig­a­ments in the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal de­feat by Real Madrid May 26 and­has­not­playedsince,keep­ing­fans in sus­pense be­fore Egypt’s first World Cup fi­nals in 28 years.

Cu­per shrugged off any doubts over whether Salah, who will turn 26 on the day of the match, would feel suf­fi­ciently con­fi­dent of his phys­i­cal state to be able to per­form at his best. “We’re try­ing to make him feel con­fi­dent – even 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,” he said.

“In terms of him on the pitch – if he does de­cide to play he’ll have full guar­an­tees in terms of his phys­i­cal con­di­tion, he’s go­ing to be fine. Cer­tainly he doesn’t feel afraid.”

Egypt are back in the World Cup fi­nals for the first time since 1990 and their progress to the last 16 could hinge on Salah en­joy­ing the form that saw him voted Eng­land’s Player of the Year by his fel­low pro­fes­sion­als.

Uruguay are the tough­est op­po­nents for the north African team, and they will fancy their chances of ad­vanc­ing from Group A, which also in­cludes Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia.

Cu­per added that Salah’s in­clu­sion would de­pend on him com­ing through their fi­nal train­ing ses­sion un­scathed. Watched closely by dozens of cam­eras Thurs­day, the striker ap­peared not to over­strain him­self dur­ing train­ing.

A Rus­sian reporter stay­ing at the same ho­tel as the Egypt team has said that Salah had also been work­ing with a trainer un­til af­ter mid­night fol­low­ing their ar­rival in Yeka­ter­in­burg Wed­nes­day.

Cu­per also en­ter­tained a ques­tion from a reporter about Salah’s prospects of emerg­ing as the top scorer at the tour­na­ment.

“Why not? He could be­come the top goal scorer here and one of the great­est play­ers.” –

Egypt are back in the World Cup fi­nals for the first time since 1990.

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