Egypt entered the World Cup with grudging respect. They qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1990 in fact. And it was cause for considerable joy throughout the North African nation. But since arriving in Russia they have received a reality check. The Pharaohs have lost two out of two matches. Also, star and leading scorer Mohamed Salah has not been himself. He missed the first game with a bad shoulder. He lacked support in the second match. Saudi Arabia was put in their place opening day. Russia scored a 5-0 bet the World Cup win over them to set the tone.
2018 FIFA World Cup Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt
Date and Time: Monday, June 25, 2018, 10 a.m. ET
Location: Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
World Cup Betting Online Odds:
|Egypt||-½ (-118)||2½ (+110)|
|Saudi Arabia||+½ (+103)||2½ (-125)|
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: FS1
Egypt suffered a 1-0 loss to Uruguay in their opener. Mohamed Salah was unable to answer the bell. And with his absence the Pharaohs had no offensive threat. Although Egypt came out energetic they failed to finish. Despite that Uruguay could not muster a goal until the 89th minute. Jose Gimenez took a free kick from Carlos Sanchez for a clutch header. And a heartbreaker for the Egyptians.
Salah was not enough
In their second game the Pharaohs lost to host Russia 3-1. After a scoreless 46 minutes Ahmed Fathy opened the floodgates. The Russian scored the first of three consecutive goals for the home team. Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba tallied shortly after. Salah did score at the 73 minute mark. But it was emblematic of Egypt’s problem. In fact, Salah is basically all that they have. Russia again exploited Egypt’s Bet the World Cup lack of depth.
Bad sign for the Saudis and Egyptians
Saudi Arabia was humiliated in their 5-0 sportsbook blowout loss to the Russians. As is the case with Egypt it demonstrated their lack of ability. And keep in mind Russia is not known for its defensive prowess. They only made the tournament because they are host. Which is a bad sign for the Saudis and Egyptians.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper built what was thought to be a strong defensive team. He was forced to emphasize defense due to having a team lacking talent. Against Uruguay his formula basically worked. But against Russia the holes were found. Weaknesses were exploited. Egypt was derided by many pre-tournament as a one man team. And that has been validated.
Fact is Egypt was able to finally qualify from a subpar group. The blue print entering Russia was defense plus Salah. Besides, it has been blown apart. Problematic is that Cuper lacks the material to try anything different. To be fair the shoulder injury to Salah has not helped. But even when he scored against Russia it was a classic case of “so what!” Salah is a World Class Premier League star. But that is all the Pharaohs have at that tier.
Saudi Arabia is in the tournament for the first time since 2006. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi became their third manager in three months. But has held the gig since last November. They entered as the lowest ranked team. Furthermore, they have done nothing to alter that perception.
Matchup to Watch
To sum up, there won’t be much in fireworks here. But Salah is the Bet the World Cup matchup difference. Meanwhile, he should put Egypt over the top with a win.
World Cup Betting Odds Picks
Egypt is the best of two bad choices here.
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Egypt
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Egypt 1, Saudi Arabia 0