Birthday cake for Salah at Egypt team hotel at World Cup

Elena Summers
June 20, 2018

"He was fit to play against Uruguay but the coach did not want to take the risk", said the EFA.

A poor game looked likely to end in stalemate but with Uruguay cranking up the pressure late on, defender Gimenez rose to power a header into the top corner and break Egypt hearts.

The Egyptian Pharaohs dearly missed the services of talisman Mohamed "Mo" Salah, who has been nursing a shoulder injury since falling awkwardly on May 26 during the UEFA Champions league final.

While the Liverpool ace was kept pinned to the bench by head coach Hector Cuper as he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder issue picked up against Real Madrid in the Champions League final a month ago, it seemed an imposter had taken over the body of his South American counterpart.

Egypt offered little in Salah's absence and are now under pressure heading into a clash with Russian Federation, while Uruguay - and particularly Suarez - can breathe a sigh of relief.

However, Jose Gimenez's late victor secured a 1-0 win for Uruguay and left Egypt needing to win both of their matches if they are to have a chance of progressing.

Suarez returned a favour to his strike partner by setting up Cavani to volley from the edge of the area before drawing a world class save from the custodian. Salah's presence or absence will play a huge role in how the Egyptians manage to answer the challenge. The game burst into life after Luis Suarez blasted a close-range effort into a side netting. Russia's game is fateful and hard because of our defeat against Uruguay.

Egypt will also play hosts Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia during the group stage and Cuper intends to stick to the formula that has served the team well so far.

Suarez nearly propelled the Reds to the Premier League title in 2014 but his attempts to replicate that form at the World Cup ended in controversy after a biting incident involving Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

Uruguay, on the other hand, will appear in their third consecutive World Cup, having also made an impressive fourth-place finish at the 2010 World Cup.

His participation at the World Cup was in doubt initially, but Salah recovered in time to make the squad.

Salah was forced to leave the stadium teary-eyed after the first 30 minutes of the game.

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