Egypt vs Uruguay
Egyptians had some good roles and even won the African Cup of Nations few times. But the nation was waiting for their qualifying to World Cup for decades. Now they have one of better offensive players Mohamed Salah. Their dreams aren't finished and no way that the nation will be satisfied with a group stage presence.
They know that the first game against Uruguay is important for them since they will be playing against the host nation. Everyone expects them to defeat Saudi Arabia. They know that their biggest weapon remains counter attacks, especially in case they have their superstar player.
The side has qualified for the World Cup in the last group drawn with Uganda, Ghana, and Congo with a 4-1-1 record. Since then, Egypt didn't win any game, having a run of five matches without a victory. They suffered defeats to Portugal and Greece in March not impressing in last friendlies either.
They had pretty poor preparation matches with a draw against Kuwait 1:1 at the start of it. They didn't use most of their players from European clubs. However, they didn't prove themselves better in next two games either. Against Colombia, they had a goalless draw and looked quite inferior. Finally, Belgium looked way more serious than them in Brussels winning the African side with a 3:0 result.
Offensive Mohamed Salah is racing against time to make this game. I strongly believe he will start the match since the team depends on him too much. Ramadan Sobhi is on standby to replace him.
Uruguay didn't have that easy path in the South American qualifiers. But the nation still managed to seal the qualifications earlier. They weren't under pressure in the last qualifying week. They finished the qualifications with a victory over Bolivia at home 4:2. Finally, they got the 2nd position with ten points less than first placed Brazil and three more than third-placed Argentina.
Overall, they didn't impress with a 9-4-5 record in an equal South American group, but the job was decently done. After the qualifiers, they had friendlies in Europe losing to Austria and drawing against Poland late last year. Uruguay won the friendly tournament in China winning over the Czech Republic and Wales earlier in March. They had a 3:0 victory in Montevideo against Uzbekistan in the only friendly game before the World Cup.
Their target is to progress the group and it seems like a realistic one. Their defensive gaps and some weaknesses should be obvious in the knockout stage. As for me, they do stand out as a strong favorite to get the first position in Group A.
Cavani and Suarez should lead their attack, together with Arrascaeta as an offensive midfielder. Lucas Torreira will have to settle for a place at the bench.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 9 of Uruguay's last 11 games (FIFA World Cup).
Egyptian side showed very little during the friendlies and I can't see them walking away with something. Uruguay knows this match is crucial for them. Especially since they play against the host nations later on and should be fired up for all three points.
Egyptians will depend much on the presence of Salah and remain potent in attack. It's difficult for them to stop the things going from bad to worse once the things go bad on the field. As said, Egypt has the potential for quality football. But Uruguay is favorite here and they alone are able to score three goals on a good day. Value bet.
Egypt vs Uruguay prediction
Uruguay Wins & Over 2.5 goals @ 3.10 with Bet365