Hosts Russia got their 2018 World Cup campaign off to the perfect start, annihilating Saudi Arabia in their opening game. The 5-0 triumph ended a 7-game winless streak and also allayed the fears of the fans, many of whom felt it would be an uphill task for the side to make it out of their group. A win against Hector Cuper's Egypt, who will have the services of a fit-again Mohamed Salah, would confirm their place in the next round.
Manager Stanislav Cherchesov feels his side are well-equipped to deal with the threat of the Liverpool forward. "We know how to play against him," Cherchesov stated. "We are ready to stop Salah and we will."
Also read: Egypt's Predicted XI vs Russia
Denis Cheryshev came off the bench to net a brace for Russia last time around and he is expected to take his place in the starting line up against Egypt. Alan Dzagoev has been ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury and it remains to be seen whether he will feature later on in the tournament. Dzyuba played an important role coming off the bench against Saudi and he could get the nod. Alexandr Golovin, in Dzagoev's absence, will be the creator-in-chief for the side. He will move into a more central position behind the striker with Cheryshev lining up on the left.
If Dzyuba does indeed feature in the starting XI, Zhirkov and Fernandes will play a key role delivering balls into the box for the 1.94 m attacker to attack.
Russia defended stoutly in their opening fixture and the backline is expected to remain the same. However, they will face a much sterner test against Egypt who will be buoyed by the return of Salah who missed their opener against Uruguay. Ignashevic and Kutepov did not put a foot wrong against the Saudis but they are both not the quickest of defenders and will need to be wary of the Egyptian threat on the counter.
Russia Predicted Starting XI: Akinfeev; Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Gazinskiy, Zobnin; Kuzyaev, Cheryshev, Golovin; Dzyuba
Do you think Russia should make any changes to the side that thrashed Saudi Arabia? Let us know in the comments.Published 19 Jun 2018, 14:36 IST