Russia v Egypt: Pre-match talking points
Russia and Egypt meet in St Petersburg on Tuesday in a game that could go a long way to deciding who qualifies for the last 16.
Russia’s huge 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia has put them in a great position to qualify. But Egypt’s World Cup hopes were dealt a major blow after they conceded a late winner against Uruguay.
It’s going to be a big game. And we’ve looked over the big talking points:
Are Russia actually any good?
Russia were the lowest ranked side going into the tournament (70), which made their confident display against Saudi Arabia a real surprise.
As impressive as some of the hosts goals were, the Saudis were dreadful. Russia cut through them again and again without any difficulty. Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will find it much harder against Egypt. The African side know they’ll need a point at the very least to have any realistic chance of going through.
We’ll get a clearer idea of Russia’s level here. The hosts are 11/10 favourites.
Is Salah fit enough to make the difference?
Mohamed Salah won his race to be fit for the World Cup, but the Liverpool star wasn’t called upon against Uruguay.
Rather than risk him before he was fully ready, Hector Cuper may have been saving Salah for the remaining group games.
Egypt are a solid but functional side. Salah provides the stardust. He set a new record with 32 Premier League goals last season. If he’s even close to 100%, Russia should be very worried.
Will Golovin continue to shine on the big stage?
It wasn’t hard to see why Aleksandr Golovin has been linked with the likes of Arsenal during the win over Saudi Arabia.
The playmaker pulled the strings for Russia in midfield. He set up two goals and scored a superb free-kick himself.
If he performs like that again, the CSKA Moscow ace may get a big move sooner rather than later.
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