Match prediction & recommendation: RUSSIA
Russia Team News
Alan Dzagoev’s injury nightmare continued on the opening night, when he was taken off with a hamstring injury in the first-half. The CSKA Moscow playmaker missed Euro 2016 and last summer’s Confederations Cup through injury and is now unlikely to play any further part in this year’s tournament. Substitute Denis Cheryshev seized his chance, however – his two goals after replacing Dzagoev against Saudi Arabians should see him handed a start against Egypt, though the loss of their key man will no doubt be more keenly felt against better opposition. Artem Dzyuba is another substitute pushing for a start – he took just a minute to score after replacing Fyodor Smolov against Saudi Arabia, but he may be held as an impact sub given Smolov was the Russian Premier League’s top Russian goalscorer last season.
Russia Key Players
Denis Cheryshev seized his opportunity on the opening night, stepping off the bench when Alan Dzagoev was injured and scoring two goals of great quality in Russia’s 5-0 win. Aleksandr Golovin also impressed, bagging two assists before rounding off victory with a superb free-kick to score the fifth goal.
Russia Previous match
Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia (Gazinskiy, Cheryshev (2), Dzyuba, Golovin)
Russia Football team cruised to victory on the opening night of the 2018 World Cup against unfancied Saudi Arabia. The hosts took just 12 minutes to open the scoring through Yury Gazinskiy and not even the loss of influential playmaker Alan Dzagoev could knock them off their stride. Denis Cheryshev added a brilliant second just before half-time, before Artem Dzyuba stepped off the bench to make it 3-0 with 20 minutes remaining. Two stoppage time goals – a brilliant strike from Cheryshev and a curling free-kick from Aleksandr Golovin – wrapped up a Russian victory.
Russia Team Form
Russia’s win against Saudi Arabia was their first in eight matches – they last won when they beat South Korea in a friendly in October. The seven-match unbeaten run that followed included defeats to Argentina, France and Brazil before they lost 1-0 to Austria and drew 1-1 with Turkey in their pre-tournament warm-up matches.
Russia Predicted Starting Line up
Expected Line up:4-2-3-1
Russia likely XI
- Goalkeeper:Igor Akinfeev
- Defenders:Manuel Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov
- Defensive Midfielders:Yury Gazinsky, Roman Zobnin
- Attacking Midfielders:Alexander Samedov, Denis Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin
- Forwards:Fyodor Smolov
Egypt Team News, Updates, and Facts
Egypt Team News
Star man Mo Salah was declared fit for the opening game against Uruguay but in the end did not feature as he remained on the bench. The Liverpool striker dislocated his shoulder in the Champions League final but will now surely return to the Egyptian line-up for the crucial fixture against Russia. Captain and veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary was another surprise absentee for the opening match – he was replaced in goal by Mohamed El Shenawy, meaning he must wait if he is to break the record and become the oldest ever World Cup player at 45 years old. El Shenawy’s man-of-the-match performance means it is unlikely he will be dropped.
Egypt Key Players
Egypt have struggled for goals without star man Mo Salah, and the PFA Player of the Year and Premier League golden boot winner will be desperate to return to the starting XI. He scored five goals in qualification, including the last-minute winner against Congo that booked Egypt’s place at the World Cup and he has 33 goals from 57 appearances in total. In goal, Mohamed El Shenawy justified his selection against Uruguay with a string of great saves and was unlucky not to have a clean sheet to reward his efforts.
Egypt Previous match
Egypt 0-1 Uruguay
Egypt, with star man Mo Salah on the bench, rode their luck in the opening game against Uruguay with Luis Suarez missing a gilt-edged chance for Uruguay, Edinson Cavani hitting the post and Mohamed El Shenawy in inspired form in the Egypt goal. They looked like they were going to snatch a point until Jose Gimenez rose highest to head in the winner on 89 minutes.
Egypt Team Form
Egypt have not won since confirming their place at the World Cup thanks to Mo Salah’s last-minute penalty against Congo in October. Salah scored again before two stoppage-time Cristiano Ronaldo goals consigned Egypt team to a 2-1 defeat to Portugal in March, and their star player has not featured since – coinciding with a dip in form and goals. Egypt’s only goal in the last five matches was Ayman Ashraf’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Kuwait. They lost 1-0 to Greece before that and, since then, have drawn 0-0 with Colombia, lost 3-0 to Belgium and then lost their opening World Cup game 1-0 to Uruguay.
Egypt Predicted Starting Line up
Expected Line up:4-2-3-1
Egypt likely XI
- Goalkeeper:Mohamed El Shenaway
- Defenders:Ahmed Fathy, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Abdel Shafy
- Defensive Midfielders:Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed
- Attacking Midfielders:Trezeguet, Abdalla El Said, Ramadan Sobhi
- Forwards:Mohamed Salah
Russia vs Egypt Head-to-Head Stats
Russia and Egypt have never previously met in an international match. The 2018 World Cup hosts have never previously lost to African opposition at the World Cup, however, both before and since the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Russia vs Egypt Stats
Egypt have now played five World Cup matches without winning in the tournament’s history, following the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay
Egypt have not won since sealing World Cup qualification in October – a run of seven matches without success (three draws, four defeats)
Russia have never lost to African opposition at the World Cup – their 1-1 draw with Algeria four years ago was the first time they had even failed to beat an African nation at the finals.
Russia have not won more than one game at World Cup since before the break-up of the Soviet Union
Russia vs Egypt Betting Tips
Russia’s blistering form on the opening night of the World Cup makes them favourites to beat Egypt and has lifted the pressure on the host nation following their below-par build-up to the tournament.
Saudi Arabia were poor on the opening day, however – failing to record a single shot on target – and that should be taken into account when you consider Russia’s return to winning ways.
Additionally, the loss of Alan Dzagoev is a blow – even if Denis Cheryshev stepped up in style when he replaced the CSKA Moscow man from the bench.
Egypt showed against Uruguay that they boast a well-organised and hard-working back four – albeit Luis Suarez missed some great chances for the South Americans – and they should have Mo Salah back to face Russia at the other end of the pitch too.
The return of their talisman is perfectly-timed, after Egypt opted not to take any risks against Uruguay in order to ensure the Liverpool man is fit for this crucial fixture. His replacements have failed to shine in his absence, but Salah’s international record speaks for itself.
The odds on Russia winning are lower than previously thanks to their opening night form, but Saudi Arabia are unlikely to trouble anyone in Group A and Russia just happened to be fortunate enough to play them first.
Egypt will pose a much sterner test – particularly if goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy repeats his heroics between the posts.
Russia are favourites, but their opening night win will count for nothing if they then lose to Egypt and Uruguay. Russia might be favourites, but do not underestimate the lift Mo Salah’s return will give to the Pharoahs – they are very capable of upsetting the odds.
Russia vs Egypt Recommended bets with odds
Egypt might be underdogs, but they should not be written off – Betfair are offering 14/5 on the Pharoahs to beat Russia in the opening match. Russia, by contrast, are 5/4 with Bet365 and the draw is 11/5.
Egypt have struggled for goals without Mo Salah but welcome back their star man to face the World Cup hosts – who showed they have no issues in front of goal by putting five past Saudi Arabia. Both teams to score is a generous best price of 11/10 with Paddy Power, 10Bet, Betfair and 888sport. Egypt to win and BTTS returns 15/2 with Bet365 and Betfair.
Salah is a best price of 28/13 to score at any time with 888sport, meanwhile – the third favourite behind Russian strikers Fyodor Smolov and Artem Dzyuba. With 33 international goals in 57 appearances, he is well worth backing now he is back fit again.
After seeing five goals scored in Russia’s opening game, you can back there to be over 2.5 again at 17/11 with 888sport.
Russia vs Egypt Top three bets
Russia vs Egypt Prediction
Russia ended a seven-match winless run with their thrashing of Saudi Arabia on the opening night and confidence will be high as a result. Egypt pose a much sterner test, however, and the return of Mo Salah could make the difference.
Correct score prediction: Russia 2-1 Egypt
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