Monday, 10 December, 2018

Russia v Egypt: Key talking points

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah Forward Mohamed Salah was Egypt's top scorer in qualifying with five goals
Frederick Owens | 20 June, 2018, 04:46

His presence in the starting line-up after sitting out Friday's 1-0 defeat to Uruguay provoked a feverish excitement from the thousands of Egyptian fans that poured into the 65,000-capacity Saint Petersburg stadium to nearly even up the numbers in the stands with the hosts.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah waves for fans during a World Cup training session at Cairo worldwide stadium on 9 June 2018.

Russian Federation were superb in their opening game against Saudi Arabia this past Friday, when the likes of Aleksandr Golovin and Denis Cheryshev inspired them to a 5-0 win.

Dzyuba got in on the act with a fantastic turn and finish to send the crowd into raptures, though Zobnin's clumsy pull-back at least enabled Salah to get himself a World Cup goal soon after. And yet they are on the verge of marching on, with an impressive 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia and this hard-fought 3-1 victory over Egypt.

"Of course, he has a big influence on Egypt but the team is still 11 players, not one". Tightly man-marked by former Chelsea man Yuri Zhirkov, Salah was starved of service and Egypt suffered.

Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes' cross in the 59th.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia are unbeaten against African teams at the World Cup (W2, D1), including a 6-1 win over Cameroon in 1994 in which Oleg Salenko scored five.

Ignashevich's experience is an asset but his age counts against him and any attempt to double up on Salah will free up Mahmoud Hassan, better known by his nickname "Trezeguet", on the opposite flank.

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Russian Federation will be guaranteed a place in the last 16 and Egypt eliminated unless Saudi Arabia beat Uruguay on Wednesday. And, the game against Egypt won't be easy for the hosts as the Egyptian King will be making an appearance for his team after missing team's first game.

- Aleksandr Golovin has already been involved in three goals in this World Cup (one goal, two assists).

Against the Saudis, the hosts were fluent in attack but untested in defence, something Egypt superstar Mohamed Salah will be aware of.

Russia, on the other hand, lost a key player in Alan Dzagoev, who hobbled off the pitch with a hamstring injury in the game against Saudi Arabia, although they showed their strength with Denis Cheryshev, who came off the bench to score twice, and is likely to start the game as a result.

By starting its World Cup with a win, Senegal also saved Africa from embarrassment in the tournament.

Widely expected to crash out of Group A, the hosts are instead it on the brink of progress to the knockout phase after following the 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia with another comprehensive win.

"The most important thing is we won".

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