Egypt still hopeful about Mo

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There is no guarantee that Liverpool star Mohamed Salah will start for his country in their first game of the FIFA World Cup.

The speculation has taken the spotlight away from the return to the World Cup arena of Uruguay's own talisman, Luis Suarez, whose two previous appearances at the finals have ensured him a legacy of folly.

However, his World Cup dreams were almost crushed after the Egyptian suffered a shoulder injury in that very final, following what many believe was dirty play by Real Madrid's defender Sergio Ramos. Despite his lack of participation, Salah is still the main attraction with soccer fans in Grozny, where Egypt have based themselves for the tournament.

After Uruguay, Egypt takes host Russian Federation on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25.

"I can nearly assure you 100 per cent he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute", said Egypt's coach, Hector Cuper.

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"He's recovered very, very quickly - we've paid a lot of attention to him", the veteran coach told a news conference before the squad's last training session ahead of Friday's match. The doctors are giving him the options to play or not.

"Moments later, I also thought about the possibility of not playing in the World Cup and that was a devastating thought". "All I can say is that we hope he will play in this match".

I know Salah very well, he's not fearful.

Great players such as Mohamed Aboutrika‚ Ahmed Hassan‚ Wael Gomaa and Mido never got to taste a World Cup finals‚ but for one of their long-standing veterans‚ goalkeeper Essam El Hadary‚ he will achieve that goal.

The striker and Egyptian superstar, who is nursing an injured shoulder, is crucial to the north African side s hopes of making it out of a weak-looking Group A also featuring the hosts and Saudi Arabia.