Both Egypt and Colombia are looking forward to World Cup campaigns this summer and both have groups which makes their progress to the last sixteen look feasible. Colombia will certainly be expecting to make it at least that far having reached the Quarter-Finals in Brazil four years ago and they’ll fancy they will have too much for Egypt here.
While it might be a little harsh to call Egypt a one-man team, there can be no doubt that their chances in Russia revolve around Mohamed Salah. Ever since the Egyptian talisman went off injured in the Champions League Final last weekend, a whole nation has been holding its breath waiting for an update on Salah’s fitness.
The latest news suggest his injury will take three to four weeks to recover from which will make Salah a huge doubt for Egypt’s first game at the 2018 World Cup and clearly he will play no part here. Without him, they are far less potent going forward and it’s hard to see where their threat will come from in this match. Of the 8 goals they scored in their qualifying group, Salah netted 5 of them, more than any other player in Africa.
Egypt’s World Cup preparations kicked off with an uninspiring 1-1 draw against Kuwait last week and they’ve not won any of their last four internationals so clearly they aren’t in great form right now. They will want a morale boosting win before the important action commences but it’s hard to see them getting it here.
Colombia are pretty experienced international campaigners now with a squad that is largely the same but four years older and wiser than it was in Brazil in 2014. Radamel Falcao, who missed that tournament through injury, captains it and they ought to have too much quality for Egypt. This is currently their only official warm-up match before the World Cup so we can expect them to take it pretty seriously and field a strong side.
They’ve been in pretty good form with just 2 defeats in their last 12 internationals and they were impressive comeback winners against France in March to lay down a bit of a marker heading into the summer.
Defensively they’ve been pretty solid with 6 clean sheets in their last 12 outings and they will fancy they can do likewise again here against an Egyptian side that will be missing by far their main attacking talent.
Overall, backing Colombia to Win to Nil looks to offer value.
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Egypt are choosing from their 29-man preliminary World Cup squad. Talisman Mohamed Salah is out injured and is a doubt for the World Cup. 45 year old keeper Essam El Hadary will skipper the side.
Colombia have already named their World Cup 23 and they will choose from it here. It should be close to their strongest eleven with the likes of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez likely to start.