Following on from the competition curtain-raiser, Egypt and Uruguay will go head-to-head on Friday in what should be an intriguing second game of the FIFA World Cup.
The South American outfit are considered the strongest of the four sides in Group A and will be confident of their chances of progression if they can pick up three points here. All eyes will be on the strike duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who can forge a devastating partnership.
As for Egypt, so much hinges on the form and fitness of Mohamed Salah, after his race against time to be fit for the tournament following his injury playing for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid.
It should be a fascinating game between two sides with very different styles. Here’s how both teams could line up, all the key viewing details for the match and a preview of what’s to come at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Date: Friday, June 15
Time: 1 p.m. (BST), 8 a.m. (ET)
TV Info: BBC One (UK), Fox Sports 1 (U.S.)
Live Stream: BBC website (UK), Fox Sports Go (U.S.)
Egypt: The big concern for Egypt manager Hector Cuper ahead of the competition has been the fitness of Salah, although he’s set to feature. On the other flank, there’s plenty of competition for places, with Trezeguet and Ramadan Sobhi jostling for a start.
Likely XI: Essam El-Hadary; Ahmed Fathi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Abdel-Shafi; Tarek Hamed, Mohamed Elneny, Abdallah El-Said, Mohamed Salah, Trezeguet; Marwan Mohsen
Uruguay: Oscar Tabarez has a number of surefire starters in his side in defence and up top. The big selection dilemmas come in midfield and on the flanks.
Likely XI: Fernando Muslera; Guillermo Varela, Jose Gimenez, Diego Godin, Martin Caceres; Lucas Torreira, Rodrigo Bentancur, Matias Vecino, Nahitan Nandez; Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani
While it’s anticipated Salah will play a role for Egypt at the World Cup, his compatriots will be hoping he can have the same impact he enjoyed for Liverpool last season.
In his first campaign at Anfield, the forward was sensational in a role on the right flank. Salah constantly tested defences with his pace and quick feet. He also showcased a newfound composure in front of goal, netting 43 times in all competitions for the Reds.
The Pharaohs’ reliance on Salah makes Uruguay favourites for Friday, though, and there’s a lot of intrigue about how Tabarez’s side will go about the game.
They finished second in their group behind Brazil in CONMEBOL qualification, and there have been some signs in recent matches that we may see a more enterprising La Celeste side. In Vecino, Bentancur and Torreira, Uruguay have stronger options than in recent years.
It’s up top where they are blessed with real strength, though, as Suarez and Cavani represent one of the most devastating partnerships in the competition.
As we can see here courtesy of BBC Sport, the duo have both enjoyed exceptional seasons in front of goal again:
Tabarez will surely have a plan for Salah, as he is comfortably Egypt’s biggest threat. The Liverpool man will know that if he can isolate the likes of Godin and Gimenez he has the pace to cause big issues.
However, Uruguay’s side is packed full of experience and class. There may be a few nerves from the Egypt players in their opening game, but their opponents have been there, done it and have enough to get off to a winning start.