Egypt manager Hector Cuper pledged that Mohamed Salah would have an ‘important role’ to play in the remainder of Egypt’s World Cup campaign despite keeping him as an unused sub during Friday’s defeat to Uruguay.
The Pharoahs dealt well with Uruguay’s threat and Cuper clearly felt that it was safe to keep Salah back for more winnable games against Russia and Saudi Arabia.
But Jose Gimenez’s late winner left him with egg on his face, and Egypt will probably have to beat the hosts Russia on Tuesday to stand any chance of reaching the last 16.
Cuper defended his decision to leave Salah out, but promised that he would be back on Tuesday.
“Mo Salah is an important player for us but you need to have a good team, and we have a good team,” said Cuper, per BBC Sport. “Salah will have an important role for us in the future matches.
“We wanted to avoid risks in this match, but I think he will be fine for the next game.”
The defeat means that Egypt are still yet to win a World Cup match in five attempts, but they will probably have to take the three points against Russia to stay in with a chance of going through.
Russia’s 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia on opening night means that they have a significant goal difference advantage already, so a draw on Tuesday would leave Egypt in need of a big win against Saudi Arabia in their final game to go through.