Pharaohs fans can be proud of their side’s performance against Uruguay today, even though Egypt did not manage to start their World Cup campaign with any points.
Uruguay were labelled by many as the overwhelming favourites to top Group A, but Egypt more than matched the two-time World Cup winners.
All of the post-match coveraged centred on the will-he-won’t-he story surrounding Egyptian talisman Mo Salah, who, whilst deemed fit, began the match on the bench, where he stayed for the full duration.
Any nerves surrounding a first World Cup finals appearance in 28 years was not apparent, with Egypt confident in possession. However, as predicted, the North African side were content with soaking up pressure and launching counter attacks.
The earliest talking point would have been El-Said’s poor dive that went unpunished, but proper goalmouth action was rare.
When the ball did fall to a striker in a box, the normally clinical Suarez flashed a sitter wide – waking up Egypt to the threat Uruguay carried.
It wasn’t one-way traffic at any point of the game – whilst the South American’s were the better team, Egypt were doing very well to keep the scores level, whilst questioning Uruguay’s defence at the same time.
That pattern continued into the second-half. Immediately after the break, Suarez was denied by El Shenawy; who more than vindicated Cuper’s decision to start him.
Another injury for Egypt saw key-man Hamed swapped out for Wigan Athletic Captain Sam Morsy, but there was little to no noticeable change in Egypt’s quality.
The Pharaohs enjoyed a fair few forays forward, and they produced the best chance of the game when captain Ahmed Fathi tried his luck from range – stinging the palms of Uruguayan ‘keeper Muslera but ultimately coming to nothing.
At the other end Uruguay were still huffing and puffing, and again El Shenawy was brave to thwart Suarez. The Barca star should have pulled the trigger, but El Shenawy quickly smothered the attacker to preserve his clean sheet.
The final 20 minutes trickled down with both teams still looking to score, but the final few moments saw Egypt lose control of the game.
Firstly, Cavani was brought down outside the area, allowing the PSG attacker a chance to break the deadlock from a dead ball.
His strike smacked the post, before falling to the masses of white shirts in the box – who effectively cancelled each other out, blocking teammates attempts at an easy shot on goal.
Egypt had ridden the last of the luck – as shortly after, they gave away another soft free-kick out wide.
The Pharaohs are most susceptible from conceding goals from crosses – and that would be their undoing once again. Godin’s club partner at the back, Jose Maria Gimenez, leapt highest to head home and break Egyptian hearts.
(4-2-3-1) Egypt: El-Shenawy; Fathy, Gabr, Hegazi, Shafy; Elneny, Hamed(Morsy ’50), Warda (Sobhi 82′), El Said, Trézéguet; Mohsen (Kahraba 63′)
Subs: El Hadary, El Mohamady, Gaber, Morsy, Salah, Kahraba, Ashraf, Sobhi, Hamdi, Ekramy, Shikabala, Samir
(4-4-2) Uruguay: Muslera; Varela, Giménez, Godin, Caceres; Nández(Sanchez 60‘), Betancur, Vecino(Torreira 88′), De Arrascaeta (Rodriguez 60′); Cavani, Suarez.
Subs: Silva, Campana, Coates, Pereira, G Silva, Laxalt, Rodriguez, Torreira, Urretaviscaya, Sanchez, Gomez, Stuani
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