Belgium coach Martinez, goalkeeper Courtois discuss Egypt friendly
Belgium national team head coach Roberto Martinez and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois spoke ahead of the upcoming friendly with Egypt as both sides finalize their preparations before heading to Russia.
Hector Cuper may not be able to start with vital playmaker Abdallah El-Said after he experienced a minor hamstring fatigue. The coach will probably prefer to rest El-Said to have him ready for the World Cup.
“We want to do better against Egypt than against Portugal. It’s going to be a good test. They had 18 clean sheets in 30 matches. That’s an excellent performance,” Martinez said.
The Pharaohs will kick off their group stage games against Uruguay on June 15 before playing against Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 19 and June 25.
Egypt will also be missing Mohamed Salah in this friendly as the goal-machine winger continues to undergo treatment in Spain for the shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final. Both Liverpool and the EFA have estimated Salah to be out for three weeks meaning he will be fighting time to be back for Egypt’s first game against Uruguay.
“I think Egypt are based on a good defense. Of course, they will miss Mohamed Salah. But they will do well without him,” Martinez added.
Chelsea and national team goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had a bit of a different opinion stating that the Egyptians are not as strong as they are when Salah is not part of the squad.
“It’s unfortunate we don’t play against the strongest Egypt. They are a good team, but with Mohamed Salah, they’re even a better team. It’s going to be a different match,” the goalie explained.
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