The first of three World Cup 2018 matches taking place on Friday is a Group A clash between Egypt and Uruguay at the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg.
Group A also includesRussia and Saudi Arabia and you can read our outright preview for this quartet here.
Egypt are the first of 5 African nations to enter the fray. They qualified with some ease winning 4 and drawing 1 of 6 matches to finish 4 points better off than Uganda with African powerhouse Ghana a distant third and DR Congo also missing out.
Egypt also reached the semi finals of AFCON 17 and they are back in the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990.
Mo Salah’s fitness after his injury in the Champions League final has been the major talking point in Egypt’s build up to the tournament and we will have to watch the media for news of whether he is considered fit to take his place in this game.
Friendly international results this year could have been better. In March Egypt lost 2-1 to Portugal and 1-0 to Greece. In May they drew 1-1 with Kuwait and most recently they drew 0-0 with Colombia and lost 3-0 to Belgium.
Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly).
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf (all Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al Fateh), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC).
Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, (Zamalek), Shikabala (Zamalek), Abdallah Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athens).
Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).
Uruguay were distant runners up to Brazil in South American qualifying. However when you consider they finished ahead of the likes of Argentina and Colombia that represents decent form although the bulk of their points were earned on home soil and they didn’t travel well.
In the 2014 World Cup finals Uruguay recovered from losing their first group match to Costa Rica (3-1) by beating England (2-1) and Italy (1-0) only to lose 2-0 to Colombia in the first knockout round.
Friendly international results this year comprise of wins over Czech Republic (2-0) and Wales (!-0) in March and earlier this month they coasted to a 3-0 win over Uzbekistan.
Cavani and Suarez once again lead the line.
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Martin Campana (Independiente).
Defenders: Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Sporting Lisbon), Maximiliano Pereira (Porto), Gaston Silva (Independiente), Martin Caceres (Lazio), Guillermo Varela (Penarol).
Midfielders: Nahitan Nandez (Boca Juniors), Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria), Matias Vecino (Inter Milan), Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus), Carlos Sanchez (Monterrey), Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Cruzeiro), Diego Laxalt (Genoa), Cristian Rodriguez (Penarol), Jonathan Urretaviscaya (Monterrey).
Forwards: Cristhian Stuani (Girona), Maximiliano Gomez (Celta Vigo), Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain), Luis Suarez (Barcelona).
Recent Head to Head
16/08/06 INTF Egypt 0-2 Uruguay
The Betting - Bet Now
Note, odds quoted are an approximate average and are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change
Although Egypt’s friendly international form in recent times suggest they will have to step up, their performances in qualifying and in AFCON paint a picture of solid defensive unit. That train of thought will be tested here but I fancy Egypt will set out their stall for a point and they might well get it.
Bets: Match Result, draw at 27/10
Pool name: Goodforthegame
Pool code: eirebibs
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