It seems that Ahmed Elmohamady and his Egyptian side will not be progressing in the 2018 World Cup.
The first half was a fairly even affair with the hosts, Russia, starting very strongly but as time passed the Egyptians grew into the game. Our Elmo didn’t start the game as Fathy, the captain, kept his place at right back and Mo Salah made his much-anticipated return to the starting eleven down the right flank.
The second half of the game sprung to life almost immediately. A moment of misfortune for the Egyptian captain saw him inadvertently turn a scuffed Roman Zobnin shot past his own keeper to give the Russians a 1-0 lead.
Egypt tried their hardest to get back into the game but were unable to forge a real opportunity. Their misery was compounded when a Figueira Fernandes pull back from the right by-line was met by the left foot of in-form Denis Cheryshev to put the hosts 2-0 up.
Less than 3 minutes later, the home crowd was celebrating once again as Artem Dzyuba plucked the ball out of the air on his chest, took the ball past West Brom’s Ali Gabr before cooly slotting the ball beyond the outstretched arms of El-Shenawy to give Russia a commanding 3-0 lead.
Egypt were offered a glimmer of when, through a VAR referral, the referee awarded them a penalty as Mo Salah was brought down. The Liverpool forward stepped up and duly despatched the penalty to make it 3-1. Unfortunately for Egypt and Elmo it wasn’t enough and the game finished 3-1 to the hosts.
This result means that Egypt are all but out of the World Cup. They do, however, face Group A whipping boys Saudi Arabia on Monday 25th June at 15:00 GMT which should see them record their first points of the tournament. With the game likely being a dead rubber it’s not unrealistic to think that the Egyptian manager will rotate the team and Elmo may be able to make his World Cup debut.
Russia will be happy with their night’s work as they currently top the group with 6 points out of 6 and a healthy +7 goal difference. They face Uruguay at the same time on Monday in what will be a winner tops the group shootout if Uruguay can get 3 points against Saudi Arabia tomorrow.
If Uruguay do lose tomorrow then this will leave the door slightly ajar for Egypt going into matchday 3. It does seem like the faintest of hopes, however, as Saudi Arabia were incredibly poor against Russia and on paper Uruguay are the far superior team. Still, stranger things have happened in football.