Russia 2018 Watch: Egypt still waiting
PUBLISHED: 17:14 15 June 2018
Read our World Cup blog which will be featuring over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews the first of three matches on day two of the tournament
If you thought England’s 52-year wait for another World Cup success was long enough, spare a thought for Egypt, who are still in search of their first ever victory in the tournament finals.
The Pharaohs, who were hoping to break the duck in their third ever campaign, were defeated 1-0 by Group A opponents Uruguay today, who won their first opening World cup game since 1970, at the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg.
The defeat for Egypt meant they had the unwanted record of being the only African team to have played as many World Cup games without winning a single one.
Having made their tournament debut in 1934, Egypt were defeated 4-2 in their first round tie by Hungary. Abdulrahman Fawzi scored twice that day to become the first African player to score at a World Cup.
They qualified next in 1990, where they lost to England in the group stage, courtesy of a Mark Wright header. And although they managed to earn draws with the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland in the same group, it wasn’t enough to progress.
Today, Egypt were without hot-shot striker Mohamed Salah, who was an unused substitute.
He will have to wait a bit longer to make his return to action, due to shoulder injury that he sustained in Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League Final defeat to Real Madrid.
The injury occurred after a collision with Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos, who has been the subject of plenty of social media abuse from Liverpool and Egypt fans alike, with some commenting underneath his posts on Instagram, “Like if you hate Ramos”.
Some have even been baying for blood and await the prospect of facing Ramos, should the North African side meet the Spaniards in the tournament.
As a result, Salah was not ‘running down the wing’ and his side lacked his inspiration with former Reds striker Luis Suárez looking to seize advantage on the centre stage for the opposition.
The Barcelona striker looked hungry – for goals this time and not defenders’ arms, as was the case four years ago when he bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez was banned in each of his two previous World Cup campaigns, which ultimately proved costly in the subsequent rounds for Uruguay.
He had a frustrating first half, missing a sitter – which commentator Jonathan Pearce and many on social media mistakenly thought had gone in, before wasting a couple of glorious chances.
Goals weren’t on the menu this time round for Suárez or Edinson Cavani, who was the top scorer in last season practically one-team league in France, and was denied first by a fine save from keeper Mohamed El-Shenawy and then by the woodwork.
The winner came from an unlikely source in José María Giménez, who headed home the winner in the 89th minute. It was his second goal in consecutive matches – as many in his previous 27 games, according to Opta.