GROZNY – Egypt's Mohamed Salah arrived in Russia Sunday, with the Pharaohs hopeful the star striker can complete a dramatic injury comeback in time for their opening World Cup match against Uruguay.
Salah and his teammates touched down in Grozny ahead of Egypt's third appearance at the World Cup, ending a drought stretching back to 1990. The seven-time African champions play their opening Group A fixture on Friday, June 15, against Uruguay.
"The team is ready for the competition and morale is high," national team manager Ihab Leheta told AFP at the Grozny International Airport.
The Pharaohs have never progressed beyond the group stages and Salah is seen as crucial to their chances of making an impression at the tournament in Russia. The goal-scoring talisman has been sidelined since exiting Liverpool's 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in tears after injuring his shoulder when Sergio Ramos wrestled him to the ground.
Such has been his form for the English Premiership club – 44 goals in all competitions for the season – that he has been included in Egypt's squad even though there is no guarantee he will play.
Team doctor Mohamed Abou al-Ela told ON Sport TV on Saturday night that they would make an assessment on Salah's ability to play early this week.
"We won't be able to tell until after two days," he said, declining to give any more details.
"We will not have him play unless he has totally recovered."
On May 30, Egypt officials said Salah would be out for "not more" than three weeks, which would rule him out of the Uruguay match but put him in the frame for Russia on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25. The player attended Egypt's final training session in Cairo on Saturday night but did not take part, restricting himself to briefly dribbling the ball on the corner of the pitch.