Mohamed Salah's fitness not exclusively at fault for Egypt's woes - Hector Cuper

Russia Saudi Arabia World Cup 2018

Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Sergei Ignashevich (third from left) of Russia in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Russia and Egypt in St Petersburg, Russia, yesterday. The hosts look set to qualify alongside Uruguay, who will play Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

This pours further misery on Salah after his tragic end to a sensational maiden campaign with Liverpool, having also been forced off midway through the first half of the Champions League final.

If Salah plays and plays well, Egypt wins this contest 2-1 or 3-1 in a walkover.

The results put Russian Federation on the verge of making the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time since the Soviet era.

Russian Federation neutralized Salah in the tense but low quality first half, with Yuri Zhirkov dealing well with the Premier League's player of the year particularly when he got in front to him to clear a unsafe cross early in the first half.

It will be scant consolation for the Egyptian King, however, as his talents are deserving of much more on the worldwide stage.

However, Egypt could look much different with the return of its star striker, Mo Salah, who is looking to make an immediate impact to help his side salvage this tournament over its final two games.

"It's hard to say what would have happened if he was on top form but I always say that behind one or two brilliant players there has to be a team".

The Liverpool ace eventually had his first chance to break the deadlock for the Egyptians four minutes before halftime after finding space just inside the box, but his bending strike missed just wide.

"Today we'll have an important test for him to see how he does". "I don't think it was lack of concentration".

"If he was not injured, it is very hard to know what would have happened", Egypt coach Hector Cuper said. "It's hard to say this but in a World Cup you have to wait until the very last minute, although it's true that our chances are minimal".

"The whole match, and we had between 10 and 15 very bad minutes and that's why we lost". Now with two World Cup goals, he echoed Russia's newfound confidence.

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