Egypt ready to take a risk on fitness of talisman Mo Salah

Diposting oleh On 03.22

Egypt ready to take a risk on fitness of talisman Mo Salah

World Cup 2018 Egypt ready to take a risk on fitness of talisman Mo Salah After the opening World Cup defeat to Uruguay, Egypt and their manager Héctor Cúper have a big decision to make for Tuesday’s match with Russia in St Petersburg

Mohamed Salah looks relaxed in training on Monday and his manager is confident he will be fit to start against Russia.
Mohamed Salah looks relaxed in training on Monday and his manager is confident he will be fit to start against Russia. Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

For the Egypt fans taking in the sights of St Petersburg there was no mistaking the focus for their adoration. The words “Mo Salah” became a kind of greeting, as people embraced, stopped for photographs in front of the ornate Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, hoisted their flags.

It has always been about Salah. Even long before his shoulder was wrenched by Sergio Ramos, it was about Salah. Their symbol was the man who had propelled them here in the first place, a World Cup 28 years in the waiting.

How Mohamed Salah managed the impossible: to unite Egypt Read more

There is an extraordinary pressure riding on whether or not he is in the best physical shape to run at the Russia defence as the second round of Group A matches gets under way.

The Egypt manager, Héctor Cúper, had a stab at spreading the message that the entire squad are working collectively but there was not much point in pretending Salah’s influence was not the ke y to everything. “When we don’t have him we feel his absence,” Cúper said.

“Nobody can deny how important he is and I say that with all due respect to the rest of the players in the squad. We have to try to find alternatives but I am optimistic he will be able to play. Salah is fit and an essential part of our team.”

That declaration, a little over 24 hours before the kick-off against Russia, felt like a boost but Egypt had heard a similar message before the opening game against Uruguay. Salah had been close to playing only for a late fitness test to complicate matters. Salah will repeat the physical examination on Tuesday with Egypt desperate for a more positive outcome. Out on the pitch on the eve of the game the fitness coach made a point of bumping him with physical contact, challenging the arm, seeing how well it could withstand a body check.

As if there was not enough being loaded on that recovering shoulder anyway, the way Group A has shaped up suggests Egypt desperately need a result against the host nation. Working on the assumption that Saudi Arabia look set for the wooden spoon, Egypt are aiming for a win to be the springboard to propel them into the knockout stage. Anything less is ominous for a team who do not score a lot of goals.

Egypt’s reliance on Salah as a source of providing and finishing is emphasised by the fact they do not have many choices. Cúper faced a question about whether he was minded to give up the team’s cautious style given how much is at stake against Russia. Cúper sighed. “It’s a tough question to answer. The more you increase the level of competition, the higher you set the bar, the more demanding the game becomes. We have an identity, we have a personality. It may not please everyone but we have our style. Maybe we lack that last touch, that last accuracy, that last good fortune that allows a moment to become a goal.”

Does he regret not calling up another forward? †œRegret serves no purpose,” he replied. “It is like after a match you think if only I had done this or that. I can make a mistake but I leave no room for regret. What’s the point? We are all geniuses at hindsight aren’t we.”

Cúper enthused about the impact he hopes Salah will have. “Salah is one of the best in the world, in the top 10 today no shadow of doubt. It is an honour to be able to coach him and work with him. On top of being talented he is humble, a team player, which is extremely important now.”

The Russia manager, Stanislav Cherchesov, sounded confident his team had a plan to halt Salah and Cúper responded drily. “There is not only one player on the pitch. It is great if they are just focusing on Salah.”

Topics
  • World Cup 2018
  • Mohamed Salah
  • Egypt
  • Russia
  • W orld Cup
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Source: Google News Egypt | Netizen 24 Egypt

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