Team: Russia vs Egypt
Venue: Krestovsky Stadium
Mohamed Salah is expected to start for Egypt today. He will look to keep the Pharaohs World Cup hopes alive when they meet hosts Russia later today. The host are sitting on top of the group with their excellent display against Saudi-Arabia with five unexpected goals in the opening game despite a seven-game winless run ahead of the tournament.
But truth be told, Russia have to put the result against Saudi Arabia behind them and face Egyptians with more focus. Salah’s presence will no doubt lift their spirits. They will be more dangerous on the attack knowing full well that beating Russia is the only option to keep their hopes.
Egyptians will as well try to fight for the pride of Africa as no African country has gotten a full three points at Russia.
The hosts are expected to be ready to fight hard and get another victory to put at least one foot in the next round.
But they will be without one of their key players, with Alan Dzagoev expected to miss the rest of the tournament after damaging his hamstring in Thursday's 5-o win over Saudi Arabia.
- This will be the first ever encounter between Russia and Egypt
- Egypt have never beaten European opposition at the World Cup, drawing two and losing two of their four games
- Russia's 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia was the second biggest ever by a host nation in their opening match at a World Cup tournament, after Italy vs USA in 1934 (7-1)
- Since the split up of the USSR, Russia have never reached the knockout stages of the World Cup in three appearances (1994, 2002, 2014). They have finished third in their group in each of those three editions
- Russia (5) have already scored more goals in this tournament than they did in both 2014 (2) and 2002 (4), their last two appearances at the World Cup
- No African team has played as many World Cup games without winning a single one than Egypt (D2 L3)
Russia: Igor Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov; Roman Zobnin, Yury Gazinsky, Daler Kuziaev; Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev; Fedor Smolov
Egypt: Mohammed El Shenawy, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Ahmed Fathi, Mohammed Abdelshafy; Tarek Hamed, Mohammed El Neny, Mahmoud Trezeguet, Abdullah Al Said; Mohammed Salah, Marwan Mohsen
Did you know?
Thursday was the first time that two players have scored their first goals for the national team in the Opening Match of a World Cup. Yury Gazinsky struck before Denis Cheryshev went one better, scoring his first two for Russia.