FT World Cup 2018: Africa Has Arrived - Egypt
In the history of the FIFA World Cup, no African team has ever reached the semi-finals. Ghana was agonizingly close in South Africa 2010 but crashed out after Luis Suarez’s heroics in goal, in place for a goalkeeper who was still in the game. Senegal’s Lions of Teranga had a great run in the 2002 finals before losing to Turkey, 1-0 after extra time. Can this year be a historical one for Africa?
Egypt is sweating over the fitness of their star man Mohamed Salah. If they are to have any chance of qualification to the next round, they are definitely going to need the services of the forward who can devastate opponents with his deft touch, exhilarating pace and crisp finishes.
The Egyptian team is in Group A with the hosts, Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. The favorites to win Group A are Uruguay led by two attackers in Louis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. They have enough firepower in their ranks to deal away with all their counterparts at this early stage. This might prove enough when they play against the three teams in the group. Egypt will hope to settle for a second-placed finish above Russia, who are the lowest ranking team in the tournament. As much as the hosts will have the fans in their backing, the Russian side has been disappointing in recent years and are likely going to be knocked out very early in the tournament.
The match to watch will be between Egypt and Russia, played on June 19. It has the potential to be the decider of who will make it to the Round of 16. Not much can be said about Saudi Arabia apart from the fact that they are the arch rivals of Egypt. They might cause an upset against the Pharaohs, but that is really far-fetched.
Predicted Standings: Uruguay (1st), Egypt (2nd), Russia (3rd) and Saudi Arabia (4th)