Three thoughts: Egypt vs. Russia at the 2018 World Cup


Photo Credit: FIFA

Thought #1: Hector Cuper’s conservative, defensive approach does not allow for Egypt to play from behind

One of the concerns leading into this World Cup was Hector Cuper’s cautious, defensive approach and how they would be able to handle playing from behind.  Egypt’s inability to get anything going against Russia after Ahmed Fathy’s own goal was every Egyptian supporters worst fears come to fruition. Egypt was able to maintain their defensive shape for the first 45 minutes but once Russia was able to get on the scoreline, Egypt had trouble transitioning from the rigid, shell-like defense they were in, to a team that was pushing forward.  Once Russia was able to put a second goal in, Egypt’s defense completely crumbled. In their attempts to push the ball forward, they lost their defensive awareness and failed to close out on the ball. Russia was able to find pockets of space and nail it in the back of the net. Once that second goal went into the back of the net, Egypt seemed to know that they were going to have a very difficult time putting up enough goals to close the gap and the Russia’s third goal in the 62nd minute effectively shut the door on Egypt.

Thought #2: Mohamed Salah needed to get some playing time before the Russia match

After suffering a shoulder injury during the Champions League final for Liverpool, It is an accomplishment that he was able to see the pitch at World Cup 2018.  However, when Salah saw the pitch in St. Petersburg, There was a decided lack of match sharpness to his play. It didn’t help that Salah was flanked by what seemed like 5 Russian defenders at all times. In the first half especially, Salah’s first touch was just slightly off.  This may seem like revisionist history but Salah probably should have seen at least some playing time during Egypt’s match against Uruguay, for no other reason than to run off some of the rust he has picked up in the month or so since he last played. Mohamed Salah had unfair, Herculean expectations coming into this World Cup and he had no real hope of being able to live up to those expectations.

Thought #3: Close out well against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

With Egypt no longer having a chance to move out of the group stages, there seems to be very little left for Egypt to play for.  That is incorrect. This is their first World Cup in 28 years and they owe it to their fans to end their time in Russia on a high note.  Egypt can use the momentum that they garner from playing well and show the next generation that in some way, this team and this nation belongs on the biggest soccer stage in the world.


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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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