Salah’s injury caused us – Hector Cuper

Egypt will have their last bite of the 2018 Fifa World Cup when they face Saudi Arabia on Monday at the Volgograd Arena.

The two Group A sides failed to make a round sixteen spot after collecting zero points from their opening two games against Uruguay and hosts Russia. They were the first two nations at the tourney to get eliminated.

Egypt, inspired by Mohammed Salah made it to their first World Cup since 1990 and suffered a late 1-0 loss against Uruguay and a 3-1 loss to Russia in their second encounter.

The Liverpool winger’s fitness had been questioned prior to the start of the competition due to a shoulder fracture during the 2017/18 Uefa Champions League final against Real Madrid. As a result, he missed the Pharaohs initial clash against La Celeste but started as his team succumbed to a second half crushing from the hosts.

But the Nagrig native’s pace and power was clearly on a holiday as his team could not count on his attacking prowess in such crucial duel. Head coach Hector Cuper believes it caused them a huge loss.

“There’s no doubt Mo Salah has a huge importance on this team. He’s always been a very important player for us, just as he has been a very important player for the past year in the Premier League,” the Argentine gaffer told reporters at a pre-match press conference.

“Had he been fully up to speed in the first match it would have been very important for us, yes.  But I’ve always said I don’t want to focus too much on a single player. We’re talking about a whole team here; all players are important.

The former Valencia coach continued: “Of course, he is a natural-born scorer and he can make the difference in the final third. I don’t know what would have been. That’s like looking into a crystal ball.

“If he hadn’t been hurt that could certainly have been an advantage for us but he was hurt.”

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