Birthday boy Salah left on the bench for Egypt's World Cup opener

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah is in a race to be fit for Friday's match Credit AFP

Maxi Pereira and captain Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid fame will be in charge of the defence, while Fernando Muslera of Galatasaray has always been a trusted presence at the goal.

Uruguay´s deserved last-gasp victory leaves them and Russian Federation in early control in Group A after the hosts´ 5-0 mauling of Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener on Thursday.

It was hardly a convincing Uruguayan performance despite the win.

Uruguay are considered favorites to snatch all three points but Egypt's spectacular journey to the World Cup coupled with Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah's scintillating form could mean that this won't be a game won on paper.

Salah suffered an injury in the Champions League final in late May, and his status for the World Cup was questionable heading into the tournament.

For Uruguay, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez start in attack while Arsenal transfer target Lucas Torreira is named on the bench.

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The second Group A match of the football world cup will start at 5 pm local time, 5:30 pm IST and 1 pm BST.

The Pharaohs are appearing in just their third World Cup and a first since 1990 - somewhat ironically, since they were the first African team to play in the tournament, way back in 1934.

Egypt's Amr Warda (left) challenges for the ball with Uruguay's Giorgian De Arrascaeta during their Group A match. It's also worth noting that Uruguay are the only team on this list to have ever made the semis-somewhere they will no doubt be looking to reach again. The potent forward pairing of Suarez and Edinson Cavani have also scored 93 worldwide goals between them.

Marwan Mohsen is the obvious choice up front should Salah prove to not yet be fit enough to feature, but he has only four goals in 25 matches.

Anything but a win against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) would be a surprise. These are two mid-sized football nations, spearheaded by genuinely special footballers: if one of them hits the ground running then their momentum, particularly with Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia likely to be obliging opponents further down the track, could pick up irresistibly.

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