With all opening matches done at Russia 2018, the all-important second games will begin to kick off over the next week. After one game teams now have an idea of where they stand, and sometimes more importantly – how their opponents have fared.
For the hosts of the tournament, Russia – it could not have been a better beginning to the tournament. They routed Saudi Arabia by a 5-0 scoreline and really it could have been more. The Saudis are right up there with one of the worst squads in the tournament, and it will be interesting to see how they fare against a competent Egyptian side.
For the Pharaohs of Egypt, it was a hard luck loss in their first match. Though Uruguay was the stronger side, the Egyptians defended well and a 90th minute goal against doesn’t change the fact that they likely deserved a better fate. For this match however, Egypt will be welcoming back Mohamed Salah to the lineup. The talented Liverpool striker had to sit out in the opening match vs. Uruguay and his teammates really missed his flair in the final third.
With the Egyptians sitting at 0 points and Russia at the full three, the pressure is on Egypt here to secure a result before playing Saudi Arabia in their last group stage match. Can the Egyptians silence the home crowd? Read on below for a full match preview and tactical breakdown.
Russia vs. Egypt Betting Odds:
Over 2 (-130)
Under 2 (+110)
Russia vs. Egypt Pick:
The atmosphere should be absolutely electric in St. Petersburg on Tuesday afternoon as Russia look to secure their second straight win at the World Cup. That said, they’ll be taking on a hungry Egyptian side with Mohamed Salah back in the lineup.
To begin with, I feel a little bit too much is being made of Russia’s opening victory against the Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis simply weren’t ready for the stage and made Russia look a lot better than they actually are. Now if we analyze the betting lines, Russia is clearly overvalued in their second match as too much is being made of beating up on a defeated Saudi Arabian side.
Egypt will be another story entirely. They offer an actual attacking punch going forward and Hector Cuper’s group is extremely solid in defense. Look for the Russians to run into quite the wall on Tuesday, and there won’t be anywhere nearly as much space and time for Aleksandr Golovin. The talented Russian was all over the pitch against the Saudis and was creating chances from anywhere. Against Egypt, it will be a different story. The Egyptians are compact and cautious when they don’t have the ball, and look for Mohamed Elneny and Tarek Hamed to play key roles in clogging up the midfield, winning balls, and distributing up top to Mo Salah.
The Egyptians play a boring style – outside of Salah, but it’s been effective. They’re one of the best teams in Africa for a reason, and when they get opportunities Egypt is creative enough going forward to really trouble the Russians at the back. Russia is very vulnerable at the back, with a badly ageing defensive corps and first-choice options still missing from injuries. They weren’t properly tested against Saudi Arabia, but Egypt will have another thing planned. Egypt know they need a result in this pivotal match, and will have no choice but to have a go at the Russian defense to try and score a goal and secure a result.
Despite playing the host country on home soil, Egypt has a real chance here despite their lofty odds. They’ll likely need at least a draw in this match to keep hopes alive – but I foresee them pushing hard for goals. The link play of Mohamed Salah and Trezeguet should be an impressive duo and will be able to get behind the Russian defensive corps. While it might not be enough to secure a victory, look for Salah to will Egypt to a positive result on Tuesday. Look for Egypt to shock the hosts, with either a win or draw in St. Petersburg.
MY PICK = Egypt +0.5 (-125)