2018 FIFA World Cup host Russia will take on Egypt tonight at 11:30pm IST in Saint Petersburg, Russia in the second round of Group A.
Before the tournament began the host country Russia were taken lightly by the fans and competitors alike as no one expected much from them. But they performed beyond expectations when they demolished Saudi Arabia with a giant score of 5-0 in the opening match of FIFA 2018. Alan Dzagoev who is Russia’s key player is expected to stay out of the game after damaging his hamstring in Thursday’s opening game. Leading the Group A’s charts Russia will step in the ground high on confidence. Denis Cheryshev the Russia’s hero who scored two goals in the Saudi Arabia’s nets and will look for another goal in the game. Other than Cheryshev, Roman Zobnin, Aleksandr Golovin, Yury Zhirkov, Alexander Samedov are the mid-fielders and their dynamic midfield was seen in the previous game that they can initiate attacks from any part of the pitch as well as defend the advances when required. If we look at the records we can see that Russia always had difficulty in reaching the knock-out as they always were knocked-out of the world stage several times, on the other hand Egypt boasts with having the most matches played at the FIFA World Cup than any other African countries. Tonight’s match will be the first time the two nations have met in an official competition.
But moving forward in the competition Russia are set to face much stronger opponents and one of them is Egypt. And from Egypt’s side forward striker Mohamed Salah will be the main man in focus who has 44 goals to his name. They may not have won any FIFA titles but they are the seven time champions of the African tournaments and they will be a much tougher opponent to Russia than Saudi Arabia. Salah’s fitness will also be a main priority in Egypt’s match tonight. Whereas Russia beat their opening game with 5-0 score, Egypt had lost against Uruguay 1-0 in their opening game when Jose Gimenez at the 89th minute scored a goal for Uruguay leading them to victory. But in the previous match Salah was on the bench and watched his team lose but tonight he will be stepping in the field to battle the Russian players as he has been declared fit by his doctors and his coach. Liverpool winger Salah was injured in the Champions League final over three weeks ago after landing heavily on his left shoulder but he will make his return in today’s match. Salah’s return in the playing eleven could make all the difference for the Pharaohs. Even so if the Egyptians wish to continue further in the tournament they have no other option than to defeat Russia in tonight’s match, if they fail to do so they will be packing their bags as they will be eliminated.
Tonight,s Group A’s match prediction can be made in favor of Egypt, we can see a score of 2-1 or 3-2 with Egypt bagging the game. Salah’s presence alone will make a huge difference and it will also boost Egypt’s plays as he will lead his team. Despite having strong and experienced mid-fielders Russia will find it hard to stop when ‘one of the finest’ Salah gets into motion.
Russia’s Squad (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Yerokhin, Gazinskiy, Miranchuk, Golovin, Cheryshev, Dyzuba
Egypt’s Squad (4-3-3): El-Shenawy, Fathy, Gabr, Hegazy, Abdel-Shafy, Elneny, Said, Hamed, Warda, Salah, Trezeguet