World Cup hosts Russia will take aim at Egypt in their second Group A match, set for the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, June 19, kick-off at 20h00 CAT.
Following their emphatic 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the tournament’s opening game on Thursday evening, Stanislav Cherchesov’s side will be full of confidence and hopeful of claiming another three points – which would put them on the verge of qualifying for the last 16.
Their victory over the Saudis in Moscow arrived courtesy of goals from Yury Gazinskiy, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovin and Denis Cheryshev. The latter was particularly impressive in scoring twice as a substitute after key man Alan Dzagoev succumbed to a hamstring injury, and he will fancy his chances of starting against the Pharaohs in Saint Petersburg.
‘Sbornaya’ also saw good performances from Golovin and Fyodor Smolov, and will need them to keep up their form, while goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev is likely to be a more influential figure against the North Africans, who should pose more of a goal threat than the ‘Green Falcons’ did.
Egypt will hope to have gotten out all of their nerves in their opening game against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg on Friday – a landmark match which saw them return to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
While Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is undoubtedly their biggest star, the Pharaohs will need others to step up and take charge of the match against Russia, including centre-back Ahmed Hegazi, defensive midfielder Mohamed Elneny and striker Marwan Mohsen, who must look to target the ageing Russian centre-back Sergei Ignashevich.
Coach Hector Cuper will want his side to play on the counter-attack against Russia, drawing their opponents in before using pace and width in response. The hosts were almost caught on the break a couple of times in the opening game by Saudi Arabia, who lack the skill and speed in the attack that Egypt can call upon.
Russia v Egypt – head-to-head
There is no previous history between the teams, who will be meeting for the first time in this World Cup clash. Russia has confidence, momentum and the home-ground advantage, but they will find Egypt a far tougher nut to crack, making a low-scoring draw the likely outcome.
World Cup 2018 results so far:
Russia 5 – 0 Saudi Arabia
Egypt 0 – 1 Uruguay