World Cup, Group A preview: Russia, Egypt, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia
Russia: The hosts aren’t hopeful of reaching the latter stages of the tournament but playing on home soil in front of a fired-up country can do strange things to teams. If they get out of this group it would be a huge surprise. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW
Saudi Arabia: Like Russia, not much is expected of Saudi Arabia. The Middle East nation are the second lowest-ranked team in the competition (behind only Russia) and a managerial change hasn’t really helped them in recent months. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW
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Egypt: If Mohamed Salah is even 75 percent fit, Egypt should get out of the group rather comfortable. The Pharaohs are at their first World Cup since 1990 and are ready to be loved by hipsters across the globe... READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW
Uruguay: The big favorites from Group A, and with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up top together, it’s hard to argue against a stubborn La Celeste strolling into the last 16. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW
Who’s going through: Uruguay and Egypt are the favorites and although you can never rule out the hosts surpassing expectations, if Mohamed Salah fires for the Pharaohs after his injury and the Uruguayan duo of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani get decent service, this is pretty much nailed on.
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Who’s going home: Russia and Saudi Arabia are the two lowest-ranked teams in the tournament and they just don’t have a player who can rely hurt opponents. Sure, they may not get hammered but there’s little to get excited about regarding these two teams.
Marquee match: Friday, June 15: Egypt vs. Uruguay, Ekaterinburg, 8 a.m. ET
Top 5 players to watch
1) Mohamed Salah - Egypt
2) Luis Suarez - Uruguay
3) Edinson Cavani - Uruguay
4) Diego Godin - Uruguay
5) Aleksandar Golovin - Russia