World Cup 2018: Egypt vs Uruguay, Everything you need to know about Match 2
After an entertaining opener, the second day of the WC 2018 will see 3 matches, the first of them being Egypt vs Uruguay at the Ekaterinburg Stadium. Uruguay, expected to top the table, will be overwhelming favorites going into the match.
After confirmation from Hector Cuper that Mohamed Salah is 'almost 100% fit' and is more than likely to play in Egypt's opener, the nation would be breathing a collective sigh of relief - as otherwise the Egyptians wouldn't have stood a chance.
Let us take a look at everything you need to know about the teams, with the match set to kick off at 17:30 IST:
FIFA ranking: 45
Coach: Hector Cuper
Captain: Essam El-Hadary
Mohamed Salah's injury might have overshadowed everything else going on in the Egyptian camp over the last couple of weeks, but it is finally time for football to take centre stage. Egypt qualified on the penultimate match week, with Salah scoring a dramatic winner in extra-time to seal their fate.
Under Cuper, Egypt are one of the most defensive teams on the planet and will be a thorn in the side of Uruguay. Egypt put men behind the ball, wait for the opposition to close in, make a mistake and then hoof the ball upfield for Salah to wreak havoc.
Egypt play a defensive 4-2-3-1, with the two DMs - Elneny and Hamed functioning as more advanced centre backs. The two are very good, with Hamed earning the nickname "major general" for the way he organizes the team when defending.
Mohamed Salah operates on the left, while Mahmoud 'Trezequet' runs down on the right with Abdallah El-Said playing as the No.10. The striker situation is still not sorted - which is Egypt's biggest vulnerability, and Mohsen is most likely to start.
Another contender for the spot is Ramadan Sobhi, or "Ramadona" as he is called in Egypt. At 21, he is one of the rising stars of Egypt and rumors are that the bigger clubs will be keeping an eye on him during the tournament.
The defense is what Egypt is all about. El-Hadary is set to become the oldest player to play in the WC ever and will start in goal for the team, and is an exceptional keeper in his own right.
West Brom's Hegazi commands the backline, along with Ali Gabr as the fellow centre back, and Abdul-Sahfy and Fathi as the wing backs.
Do not expect a lot of goals.
FIFA ranking: 14
Coach: Oscar Tabarez
Captain: Diego Godin
Uruguay qualified behind Brazil from South America and are one of the teams who are expected to make an impact. They even have decent odds of making a semi-final run.
Uruguay used to be a team that were set up very much like the current Egypt side - built from the back and depending on world-class favorites to make something happen. But the arrival of newer, creative midfielders have changed their style, and now they are a side that plays a modified style of possession-based football.
Ahead of keeper Muslera will be Godin and Gimenez - both of whom are partners at Atletico Madrid and are as solid as any other pair of centre backs in the tournament.
The full-back position is where there is a slight worrry. Varela (Manchester United fans will be delighted to recognise him as the first David Moyes signing for the team) and Caceres are the starters, but Caceres is a bit slow and might be replaced by Gaston Silva - who has promised to play wherever he can to lend a hand.
The midfield quartet features youngsters with a lot of promise. Juventus' Bentancur, and Vecino are the central midfielders, while Nandez and Rodriquez are the wingers. At 22, Nandez is the captain of Boca Juniors and he is solid in defense while being highly creative. Definitely a player to keep an eye out for.
In Suarez and Cavani, Uruguay have arguably the best strike force in the tournament, and they will play a huge part in determining how their fortunes turn out. Both are coming off excellent seasons and will be looking to pounce on every possible opportunity.
Prediction: It should be a very interesting battle between Egypt's defense and Uruguay's attack. Egypt are great, but I can't see them stopping Uruguay. 2-0 to Uruguay, with a brace from Cavani and an assist for Suarez.
Who do you think will emerge victorious? Let us know in the comments.