MOSCOW – Egypt will be looking to end a 28-year-old World Cup drought when they meet stalwarts Uruguay in their first match at Ekaterinburg on Friday.
Both sides will be desperate to begin Group A in positive style, following the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
The match is highly-anticipated in Egypt where the country will come to a virtual stand-still for the Pharaohs’ first World Cup clash for nearly three decades.
It has been something of a melodramatic build-up for Egypt after the shoulder injury suffered by superstar forward Mohamed Salah. Much focus will centre on the part played by the Liverpool man during the match if any.
File: Egyptian football fans walk past a portrait of star player Mohamed Salah at Cairo International Airport. Credit: AFP
Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay present a formidable opening hurdle for an Egypt side shouldering the burden making a splash on their World Cup return.
The South Americans impressed at the last two World Cups, most notably finishing fourth in 2010.
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Though they exited at the Round of 16 at Brazil 2014, many of that side return, ensuring an experienced core remain, headlined by star attacking pair Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
Uruguay’s qualifying campaign was mixed at times, but they always bring their famed Charrua spirit to the big occasion. Uruguay have not opened a World Cup campaign with a win since 1970. In those intervening 48 years, they have collected three draws and three defeats.
African News Agency