THE World Cup continues on Friday as Egypt face Uruguay at the Ekaterinburg Arena stadium in Moscow. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Egypt v Uruguay | Friday 15th June 2018, 13:00 | BBC
We know what we’re going to get with Uruguay.
Manager Oscar Tabarez has been in charge for over 10 years and he’s overseen three World Cups over his two stints in charge, and they’ve progressed through the groups in all of them.
As well as the notable run to the semi-finals in 2010, they won the Copa America in 2011. Tabarez knows how to navigate his away around tournaments, and more than certainly has the tools at his disposal.
We’ve seen the benefits of consistency on the international stage with Joachim Low and Vincent Del Bosque.
Consistency and quality
Aside from the Atletico Madrid defensive duo of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, and the frontline firepower of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, Uruguay have adept players all over the park.
Midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Matias Vecino boast high-level experience, and the little-terrier Lucas Torreira could well be an Arsenal player next month.
Full-backs Maxi Pereira and Martin Caceres offer a combined 199 caps, and La Celeste will be organised, efficient and tough to beat.
Tabarez’s team qualified behind Brazil to book their place here, although a lot of their best work came in the latter part of that campaign.
Egypt on the other hand, have less certainty about them.
It’s difficult to mention the Pharaohs without Mo Salah, and their fate could very much be dependent on the Liverpool man’s fitness.
Salah scored five of Egypt’s ten goals in qualification, and Hector Cuper has built a side conducive to their star-man. They possess a solid spine, and the Pharaohs will look to frustrate their opponents.
Uruguay qualified with an average of 42% possession, so their approach as the superior team will be interesting.
South American superiority
Since the 1998 format change South American sides have a record of W11-D3-L0 against African nations.
At the past three World Cups that record has been seven wins from seven, so we can see there has historically been a gulf in glass.
The two World Cups held on European soil in that period saw South American teams produce a record of W4-D1-L0 against African-based opposition.
Uruguay to prove too strong
Should Ramadan have any impact on performance then it’ll be the openers. Both outfits will travel over 2,000km to the 35,000-seater Ekaterinburg Arena.
A Uruguay win ‘to nil’ can be backed at 5/4 (Boylesports) and looks the best play for Friday’s encounter. Question marks over Salah’s fitness mean we can question Egypt’s attacking threat, and thus the Pharaohs may struggle to trouble a solid Uruguay backline.
Six of Uruguay’s nine wins in qualification came ‘to nil’ and they’ve kept four clean sheets in their last five friendlies. To contrast, Egypt have scored just once in their last four, albeit we must treat friendlies with caution.
Since January 2017, Egypt have scored more than the single goal in just two of 18 games, and those were at home to Togo and Congo. Chances this Friday could be few and fare between.
Cavani can notch
Edinson Cavani top scored in CONMEBOL qualification with 10 goals, double the account of his strike-partner Luis Suarez who scored five.
The PSG forward has scored in four of his last six appearances for La Celeste, so if goalscorers are your thing, then he looks a play at 6/4 (Spreadex).
Egypt v Uruguay – Uruguay to win ‘to nil’ (5/4 Boylesports)
Egypt v Uruguay – Edinson Cavani to score at anytime (6/4 Spreadex)