Egypt becomes first country to be eliminated, Russian Federation qualifies for next round

Mohamed Salah

"Salah was feeling good to play, he was in shape".

The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup.

"Whether I continue with the team or not, we'll have to see". Could the star of this European season do the same? Now they look vibrant, brimming with confidence and intent: the transformation is nothing short of astonishing.

Russian Federation sit top of Group A with six, while a victory for Uruguay against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday will confirm Egypt's exit. I'm sure majority didn't expect a fourth game and it looks like they're going to get it. At that point, he had had the least number of touches by an Egyptian player.

The Liverpool forward dislocated his shoulder following a challenge from Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and needed three weeks to recover, putting him in serious danger of missing the tournament. But Yuri Zhirkov covered him brilliantly as well.

Russia's opponents in their match are Egypt.

Salah's first sight on goal came four minutes to halftime as he shot wide on the turn from the edge of the area.

Either Salah stepped up, or Egypt were going home.

Salah was back. And boy were they relying on him.

"It's hard to say what would have happened if he was on top form but I always say that behind one or two brilliant players there has to be a team".

Still, when the first half ended 0-0, no one could have expected what was to follow.

Sergey Ignashevich, Aleksandr Golovin and Denis Cheryshev had attempts for Russian Federation during a bright start as Egypt took time to find their feet.

They took the lead thanks to Ahmed Fathi's own goal, before Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba also found the back of the net.

Minutes later, it was 2-0. Before it, as he took his time to leave the Krestovsky Stadium pitch, he had waved his arms to exhort one last roar from an nearly disbelieving home crowd.

There was another penalty appeal in the 78th minute when Kutepov seemed to wrestle Mohsen to the turf but the referee waved play. Those two create space for Salah to run into and that is when he is at his deadliest.

Although the Egypt midfield did well, they lacked teeth upfront.

In the other Group H clash on Tuesday, Senegal recorded the first African win at this World Cup when they beat Poland 2-1, thanks to a deflected Thiago Cionek own goal and a bad error by Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, which resulted in a goal for man-of-the-match Mbaye Niang. "We'll try to finish the World Cup in the best manner". You can't defend, attack, inspire, tackle... you can't do everything on the pitch no matter how talented you are.

Another memorable instance is the last African Cup of Nations, where the Pharaohs made a surprising push to the final after being disqualified for three successive tournaments, only to lose the match in the end.

"He is an exceptional player, but not a world-class football star".

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