Following the hoopla of the opening day fixture between Russia and Saudi Arabia, the real tournament gets underway on Friday morning at 8:00 AM EST, when two of the top teams in Group A take the pitch in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Uruguay enter Russia 2018 as complete of a side as they have ever fielded. They are compact in defense, led by Diego Godin – and up front they’ll be buoyed by the prolific attacking duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. This is a group that has had successes on the international stage before, and really should be favored to emerge victorious from Group A.
For the Egyptians, it’s all about the talented striker Mohammed Salah. The prolific Liverpool scorer as famously injured in the Champions League Finals by Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, and it remains to be seen if he’ll suit up for the Pharoahs’ first match in Russia. He’s currently battling a nagging shoulder concern and it is likely he will be a game-time decision. There is a general consensus however that Egypt should sit him out vs. the powerful Uruguayans regardless, so don’t be surprised to see Salah sidelined for game one.
Both of these teams enter the World Cup filled with promise and intrigue. And following a Thursday encounter with many unknowns between Russia and Saudi Arabia, this match-up certainly won’t be lacking in star talent. Read on below for a tactical analysis and betting prediction to get you all set up for Uruguay vs. Egypt.
Egypt vs. Uruguay Betting Odds:
- Egypt (+605)
- Uruguay (-165)
- Draw (+280)
- Over 2 (-125) Under 2 (+105)
Egypt vs. Uruguay Pick:
Fresh off a dominating qualifying campaign in the gruelling South American division, Uruguay enters Russia 2018 with very high hopes. This is their most complete side in years, and enter as their clear favorites in Group A. La Celeste have lost just one match from their last nine in all competitions, and the Atletico Madrid pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez in the centre of defence has provided a fortress. They’re incredibly tough to break down, and when they need goals – they have valued creators with Cavani and Suarez up front.
Look for the Uruguayans to set the tone in match one with a fast pace, overwhelming a likely defensively-minded Egypt side that probably have their sights set on a draw. Uruguay has done a nice job of blending in some youthful creativity to their midfield, and look for players like Rodrigo Betancur of Juventus and Matias Vecino of Inter Milan to control the game and provide service up top to their lethal finishing duo.
Egypt’s manager Hector Cuper will likely respond to the Uruguayan attack by organizing his side in a rigid and defense-first manner. They’re typically set up to counter, despite some obvious flair and creativity – but Cuper has gotten them results so it’s tough to argue with the tactics of the Argentinian manager. For all of their talent up front, without Salah it would thin dramatically. As a result, look for Egypt to rely heavily on the defensive wall provided by Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr who were dynamite at protecting against chances in African qualifying. Egypt possesses a stout defensive record, but they’ll be facing a huge step-up in terms of quality in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. They’ve faced nobody of that calibre from African quality.
Though Cuper will have his side organized and content to push for a 0-0 draw, it won’t work against the dynamic nature of Uruguay. They’re too creative from the midfield, and Suarez and Cavani don’t need much to find a break through at goal. It’s also worth noting that the recent form of the Pharaohs does not inspire much confidence entering their opening clash. They’ve gone winless in their final six games, most recently conceding three goals to Belgium. There’s a bit of juice attached to it, but Uruguay look poised for a deep run and it starts on Friday morning. Egypt will battle without their star figure, but in the end the talent of Uruguay should win out. Take La Celeste at the current -165 price.