With Salah struggling for fitness, Al Hain-Cole is backing La Celeste to easy to victory against Cuper’s weakened team in their World Cup opener
Egypt and Uruguay will be hoping to get their World Cup campaigns off to a winning start when they come face-to-face at the Ekaterinburg Arena on Friday.
The Pharaohs have never won a match in the competition and have qualified for the first time since 1990.
With this in mind, they are 6/1 (7.00) outsiders with bet365 to make history by coming out on top in their opening clash.
Meanwhile, Oscar Tabarez’s team have reached the latter stages in each of the last two editions, and are 8/13 (1.62) favourites to make their experience count by emerging victorious.
The African side drew with both the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland in their last World Cup appearance, and you can get odds of 11/4 (3.75) on them starting this campaign with another stalemate 28 years on.
Mohammed Salah faces a race against time to prove his match fitness after the shoulder injury sustained in last month’s Champions League final, with Ramadan Sobhi likely to take the star man’s place should he fail to recover.
Arsenal target Lucas Torreira is likely to start on the bench for La Celeste, while Gaston Silva will compete for the left-back spot with the experienced Martin Caceres.
Egypt to struggle
As the standout star and top-scorer in African qualification, it is hardly an exaggeration to suggest that Egypt’s hopes rest mainly on Salah’s injured shoulders.
Hector Cuper’s team scored just a single goal in their three warm-up matches without the Liverpool forward, drawing a blank in their most recent two.
Even should Salah be deemed fit to start, he is unlikely to be at his sharpest as he takes on an opposition defence built around Atletico Madrid’s solid partnership of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.
Having conceded just once in their last five games and boasting the attacking talents of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front, odds of 6/5 (2.20) seem generous on Uruguay proving superior at both ends and winning to nil.
Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.