There are few players more essential to their national side’s success than Mohamed Salah. The diminutive forward carried Egypt through the qualifying rounds to the country’s first World Cup final in nearly 30 years, with the Liverpool star’s dynamism and goals cementing his position as the team’s talisman.
The 25-year-old’s absence due to the shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final was therefore acutely felt as a staid Egypt fell 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening match. It was revealed in the aftermath that although the forward had just about won the fitness race for the World Cup opener, the risk of re-injury had been too great to even bring him on as a substitute.
Now however, Salah has been cleared for Egypt’s second fixture of the group stage against the hosts Russia.
“He was fit to play against Uruguay but the coach did not want to take the risk,” the Egyptian FA admitted.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper concurred with this assessment “Mo Salah is an extremely important player for us, nobody can deny that, but you need to have a good team, and we have a good team.
“Perhaps if Mo had been on the pitch [against Uruguay] the outcome would have been different, but we can’t know that. Certainly, he has contributed a great amount to the team and will contribute in future matches. We wanted to avoid any risks in this match, but I think he will be fine for the next game.”
The Pharaohs will need the cutting edge Salah and the 44 goals he scored for Liverpool this season brings to his side.
Egypt will take on Russia on Tuesday at 2pm EST.