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Monday, 15 October 2018

Egypt hold last training session in Cairo before flying to Russia for World Cup

Ahram Online , Ahram Online , Saturday 9 Jun 2018
Egypt fans
Egypt's fans hold placard picturing Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah during the international friendly football match between Belgium and Egypt at the King Baudouin Stadium, in Brussels, on June 6, 2018 (AFP)
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Egypt's national team held their last training session at home before heading to Russia to take part in the World Cup, with around 5,000 supporters cheering them on at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.

Many fans held aloft pictures of star winger Mohamed Salah, a national hero who is facing a race against time to be fit for Egypt's opening World Cup clash against Uruguay on Friday.

The Liverpool man, who injured his shoulder in last month's UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid, stepped onto the pitch along with his teammates but did not take part in training.

When his name was read out by the stadium announcer, the venue erupted in a loud cheer. Reports suggested that Salah has a 50-50 chance of featuring against Uruguay.  

"Egypt is waiting for you. All the fans are praying that you recover quickly," one supporter said in a television interview.

Egypt fly to Russia on Sunday, five days before they kick off their first World Cup campaign since 1990, when they exited the tournament at the first round after draws with the Netherlands and Ireland and a loss to England.

The Pharaohs will also play hosts Russia and Arab Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia in Group A.

Their pre-World Cup form has been a cause of concern for many supporters after they failed to win any of their five friendly matches.

They threw away their lead to concede two stoppage-time goals in a 2-1 loss to European champions in Portugal before slumping to a 1-0 defeat by Greece in two games in March.

They salvaged a late 1-1 draw at Kuwait last month and held Colombia to a 0-0 stalemate before suffering a 3-0 loss to Belgium earlier this month.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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