PREVIEW: Salah-less Egypt take on Kuwait amid World Cup preparations
KingFut previews the action as Egypt travel to Kuwait City this weekend to take on Kuwait in the first of their three friendlies ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Russia next month.
The Pharaohs will be hoping for better results in this group of fixtures compared to the international break in March, when they lost 2-1 and 0-1 to Portugal and Greece respectively.
Hector Cuper announced a 29-man preliminary squad for the World Cup and preceding friendlies, and there is little doubt as to who will be lining up for Egypt in their opening World Cup fixture against Uruguay on June 15.
For the hosts, Radojko Avramović included Kuwait’s all-time appearances leader Bader Al-Mutawa in his squad for May friendlies against Palestine and Egypt. The Blues clinched a 2-0 win over Palestine on May 11, thanks to goals from Yaqoub Al-Tararwa and Yousef Nasser.
Al-Mutawa did not feature against Palestine, and it remains to be seen if Avramović will name the 33-year-old in his starting XI against Egypt. Al-Tararwa seems to be the Serbian’s favoured option up front, and the 24-year-old has seized his chance with both hands, scoring a goal in each of his two games with the national team so far.
Cuper will be forced to alter his strategy against Kuwait due to Salah’s absence; the winger will feature for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid on the very same weekend. This could allow the Argentine to test out a ‘Plan B’ ahead of the World Cup, given Salah’s huge importance to the team.
The match kicks off at 20:00 CLT on Friday, May 25, at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium.