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Egypt and Morocco in action as World Cup enters day two

Egypt kick start Africa’s campaign (Photos by Agencies)

FIFA World Cup 2018

Friday, 15-06-2017

-Uruguay vs Egypt @03:00pm, Central Stadium

-Morocco vs Iran @06:00pm, Krestovsky Stadium

-Portugal vs Spain @09:00pm, Fisht Olympic Stadium

Two African nations will be in action on the second day of the 2018 FIFA World cup in Russia.

In the Lunch time kick off, AFCON record winners Egypt will face off with South American giants Uruguay in Group A.

Both teams will be aiming to keep up with hosts Russia who thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 on opening day.

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah is “almost 100%” certain to play in his country’s World Cup opener against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg according to his coacch Hector Cuper.

The Pharaohs’ skipper has been in action for over three weeks after injuring his shoulder in the UEFA Champions league final.

“I can almost assure you 100% he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute,” said Cuper.

“He could become the top goal scorer here and one of the greatest players.”

Cuper said Salah was “doing very well” and had recovered “very, very quickly”.

He added: “We’re trying to make him feel confident. The doctors are giving him the option to play or not, but I know Salah very well and I’m sure he’s not afraid, he’s not fearful.”

Defender Ali Gabr should also be fit to play after bruising his face in training.

Uruguay, meanwhile, are expected to name a youthful midfield featuring 20 year-old Rodrigo Bentancur and Nahitan Nandez, 22.

But they boast plenty of experience elsewhere, not least the potent frontline of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Uruguay beat Egypt in their only previous encounter, defeating them 2-0 in Alexandria in August 2006. The Uruguayans are unbeaten against African opposition at the World Cup (W1, D2), while this will be Egypt’s first meeting with a South American side at the tournament

Prediction: Game to end in a draw.

In the other game involving an African team, Morocco will take on Iran in the first Group B encounter.

Morocco is in Group B

This will be the first team both teams meet in the World Cup but they have faced each other only once previously, a game which ended in a draw.

Morocco will be hoping right-back Nabil Dirar is passed fit after he missed his country’s friendlies against Slovakia and Estonia because of a calf injury.

Iran are without suspended defensive midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi.

There are also fitness doubts surrounding striker Mehdi Taremi and former Fulham and Nottingham Forest midfielder Askhan Dejagah.

Prediction: Morocco to win by a slim margin.

The last action of the day pits Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal take on 2010 winners Spain.

Portugal takes on Spain on Friday.

Portugal have reported no injury concerns ahead of their clash with Spain but question marks remain over their starting line-up.

Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves are vying to partner Pepe at centre-back, while either Andre Silva or Goncalo Guedes will join Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.

Daniel Carvajal returned to training for Spain on Tuesday following a hamstring injury but remains a doubt.

Alvaro Odriozola will deputise at right-back should Carvajal miss out.

Spain and Portugal have met on 35 occasions. Spain have 16 wins to Portugal’s six, with 13 draws.

The only World Cup meeting was in 2010, when Spain triumphed 1-0 in the last 16.

The squads have 43 Champions League winners’ medals between them (Spain 34, Portugal nine).

Prediction: Spain to win the Game.

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