Jose Gimenez scores late to lift Uruguay over Egypt

Mohamed Salah

Egypt's gamble to leave Mohamed Salah on the bench for their World Cup opener nearly worked.

There were positive signs in their first friendly in March though, with a Mohamed Salah goal giving them a surprise lead against Portugal, but the European champions roared back with two stoppage-time goals from Cristiano Ronaldo to turn the match on its head and secure a 2-1 win.

And despite reports - supported by coach Hector Cuper - that the former Roma man had made a swift recovery and would start, he has not made the XI in Yekaterinburg.

Egypt: Mohamed El Shenawy; Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Abdel Shafi; Tarek Hamed, Mohamed El Neny, Mahmoud Trezeguet, Abdulla Said; Ramadhan Sobhi, Marwan Mohsen. If they can take care of Egypt in the first match, then they should be able to cruise through to the knockout rounds.

Uruguay are the runaway favorites to finish top of Group A, and for good reason. It was a knee-length pair of heavy-duty felt boots and they were handed over, he said, in honour of Mohamed Salah's birthday.

Salah, who turned 26 on Friday, instead remained his seat as his side crumbled under the late pressure.

The Liverpool forward, who scored 44 goals last season, has had his fitness for the tournament in doubt since the showpiece match. Either way, it's hard to see him being anywhere near his best.

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They are European Champions and have five-times World Player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks but few people have rated Portugal as World Cup favourites - and that is no big deal for Joao Moutinho. There was no doubting his quality, though.

Attacking partner Luis Suarez - in his first World Cup appearance since his biting ban of 2014 - was largely quiet in an unremarkable first period, doing his best work when he drifted between the lines of Egypt´s defence and midfield. The game's only goal would come off another set piece, with Gimenez getting on the end of Carlos Sanchez's free kick.

Egypt's next game is against the hosts Russian Federation on Tuesday on the 19th of June, before facing off against Saudi Arabia on June 25. Uruguay are the grey-haired veterans of Group A, with four players on the roster exceeding 100 worldwide caps.

Meantime, the heartbroken Egyptians will have to forget about Friday quickly.

"But I need to stress that you need to have good players but also a good team".

Will he play against Russian Federation in what just became a must-win for Egypt?

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