Egypt suffer late defeat to Uruguay in World Cup opener
Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay in heartbreaking fashion as Jose Maria Gimenez scored a towering header in the dying minutes following a phenomenal defensive performance from both sides. Star forward Mohamed Salah did not make an appearance despite speculation that he may be fit.
Egypt XI: El Shennawy, Fathi, Gabr, Hegazy, Abdelshafy, Elneny, Hamed, Warda, El Said, Trezeguet, Mohsen.
Uruguay XI: Muslera, Varela, Gimenez, Godin, Caceres, Vecino, Bentacur, Nandez, Arrascaeta, Suarez, Cavani.
Uruguay’s last World Cup game was in 2014 when they lost 2-0 to Colombia thanks to a stunning James Rodriguez volley that went on to win the Puskas award. On that day, La Celeste were without their key man Luis Suarez who had been suspended for an infamous bite on Giorgio Chiellini in the group stage. Egypt’s last World Cup was in 1990 in a tough group with England, Ireland and the Netherlands, and coincidentally Oscar Tabarez was manager of the Uruguay national team in that tournament, as he is this year at 71 years old.
With both sides taking a defensive approach, it created a tense, cagey start to the match with neither side creating much in the way of chances. While Edinson Cavani produced a shot from just outside the box it did not trouble the goalkeeper.
The best chance of the half fell to Uruguay’s all time top scorer Luis Suarez when the ball ricocheted to him at the far post from a corner, and while the crowd thought he had broken the deadlock from close range he in fact dragged his shot wide and hit the side netting which created the illusion of a goal.
Despite Uruguay being heavy favourites, Egypt remained in the game throughout the first half but struggled to create much in the way of clear chances with Trezeguet and Mohsen barely testing Muslera.
The second half continued as the first half finished, with the final ball being the only thing separating Egypt from breaking the deadlock. Both Trezeguet and Ahmed Fathi were at the forefront of counter attacks that did not result in anything.
Cavani almost made it 1-0 when a quick piece of inter-play with Suarez created a chance for a volley from the edge of the box and while he struck the volley well it produced a stunning save from El Shennawy to keep it 0-0.
As Egypt tired towards the end of the game, there were some unnecessary fouls given away around the box. One of these was in an incredibly dangerous position which was taken by Edinson Cavani however his stunning strike hit the post and while it fell to a Uruguayan player it did not result in a goal.
Soon later, the deadlock was eventually broken when Abdel Shafy gave away a foul on Uruguay’s right hand side and the ball was played in to Jose Maria Gimenez who towered over Ahmed Hegazi to send his header into the top corner and break Egyptian hearts.
Uruguay went on to play down the clock and hold off Egypt’s attempts at an equaliser to win 1-0.
The result, combined with Russia’a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia yesterday, means that Egypt are third in the group after one game played. Uruguay are in second place but have a comparatively easier fixture schedule than leaders Russia.
Egypt’s next game is against the hosts Russia on Tuesday 19th June at 8PM Egyptian time, before facing off against Saudi Arabia on Monday 25th June at 5PM Egyptian time.
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