Following the first game of the World Cup on Thursday, Egypt will take on Uruguay in the other Group A match on Friday. Uruguay are the favourites to win Group A, and many see them as potential dark horses in this competition. Uruguay beat England and Italy at the World Cup four years ago, before being knocked out by Colombia in the Last 16, but this time La Celeste will be hoping to go further into the competition. They will be coming up against an Egyptian side who performed well in qualifying, but may well be without their star man Mohamed Salah who picked up a shoulder injury in the Champions League Final.
Egypt come into this game having failed to win any of their last six matches and their most recent 3-0 loss to Belgium will have done little to instil confidence in the squad. There is no doubt that this Egyptian side are heavily reliant on Mohamed Salah, with the Liverpool forward scoring 71% of their goals in qualifying. Salah is rated as doubtful for this first Group A clash, and without him the best the Pharaohs can really hope for is a draw. Two other players who will be familiar to Premier League fans are Mohamed Elneny and Ramadan Sobhi, with both of those players expected to have big parts to play for Egypt in Russia.
Uruguay come into the World Cup having lost just one of their last six matches and having picked up a comfortable 3-0 win against Uzbekistan last time out. Uruguay’s main strength lies in their front two, with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani making up a fearsome partnership, but there is also quality further back with the likes of Diego Godin and Cristian Rodriguez. There are some ageing players in this squad, but if Uruguay can keep it tight at the back, then they should have enough quality in attack to top Group A.
Uruguay should win this game and they should win comfortably if Mohamed Salah is not fit enough to start for Egypt. Salah is the only real threat for this Egyptian side and without him it will need to be a backs to the wall job, but with Suarez and Cavani up front for Uruguay, I can’t see them keeping a clean sheet here. Uruguay started their World Cup four years ago with a loss to Costa Rica, but I’m backing them to win this game rather comfortably.
Betting Tips (Coral)
As you would expect, this strong Uruguay side start the game as favourites at odds of 8/13, whilst a win for Egypt is priced up at 11/2, with the draw available at 13/5. Those odds on a Uruguay win aren’t actually too bad, but a better bet is Uruguay to Win and Over 2.5 Goals at 21/10. Whether or not Salah plays, I think there will be goals in this game for Uruguay, and they should comfortably keep a clean sheet if Salah fails to prove his fitness in time. Suarez and Cavani are both priced up at 13/5 to open the scoring, and I think a bet on either of those two would be money well spent. If I was pushed to choose one, I’d go for Cavani.
Uruguay to Win & Over 2.5 Goals – 21/10 (Coral)