Group A: Egypt vs Uruguay - soccer world cup Preview

Two players compete for ball

Friday's soccer world cup action kicks off with Egypt taking on Uruguay.

African giants, Egypt will take on two-time world champions Uruguay in the second match of the soccer world cup on Friday.

Egypt vs Uruguay | Friday 15 June | Ekaterinburg Arena (14:00)

To Win Match
Egypt 52/10
Draw 51/20
Uruguay 6/10

*Please note that this preview was compiled before pre-tournament friendlies were played. 

Egypt come into their first soccer world cup since 1990 with good reason to be optimistic. They find themselves in a group with Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia where progression is a distinct possibility. The Pharaohs also have a superstar, Mohamed Salah, in their ranks which will boost their chances of reaching the last 16.

Egypt became the second team from Africa to book their place in Russia, topping Group E with a game to spare. In qualifying, Hector Cuper's men claimed victories over Congo (1-2 and 2-1), Ghana (2-0) and Uganda (1-0), but also lost to Uganda (1-0) and drew with Ghana (1-1).

The Pharaohs will be sweating on the fitness of Salah, who was injured in the UEFA Champions League final and will hope that the Liverpool star can carry his fine club form onto the world stage. The Liverpool man lit up the Premier League last season, scoring over 40 goals in all competitions which led to multiple accolades. Salah has 33 goals in 55 appearances for Egypt and will no doubt look to unlock what is sure to be a stubborn Uruguayan defence. 

Uruguay are favourites to top Group A but this could arguably be their toughest game. But with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front and the Atletico Madrid partnership of Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin to deal with Salah, Oscar Tabarez's side will be confident they can beat the Egyptians. The two-time champions have a fine history in soccer world cups, finishing fourth as recently as South Africa in 2010.

After reaching the soccer world cup finals with relative ease, La Celeste were held to a goalless draw by Poland and were beaten 2-1 by Austria in forgettable friendlies in November 2017. However, they beat Czech Republic 2-0 in their China Cup opener before edging past Wales 1-0 to lift the title in March. 

Suarez and Cavani are crucial to their country's chances. Both play the No.9 position for their respective clubs – Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain – but that hasn't stopped them from combining effectively for the national side. Suarez is Uruguay's all-time leading scorer with 50 goals, while Cavani has 42.

Cavani topped the CONMEBOL qualifying region goalscoring charts finding the back of the net 10 times, finishing ahead of players such as Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who had seven, and Brazil’s Neymar, who had six. The Paris Saint-Germain striker will look to improve his soccer world cup scoring record in Russia, having found the net just twice in 10 games in South Africa and Germany.

Verdict: Uruguay 7/10
Uruguay are solid at the back and spectacular up front, I’m backing them to pick up all three points here.