The Pharaohs are back on football’s biggest stage for the first time in 28 years and are quietly fancied to make an impact, judged on the Egypt World Cup 2018 odds.
Egypt looked an emerging force when claiming three straight African Nations Cup triumphs between 2006 and 2010, before then suffering a dip in fortunes.
However, they will travel to Russia full of confidence once more after reaching the final of that competition last year, only going down 2-1 to Cameroon in the decider.
Qualifying for this summer’s tournament went smoothly, with Egypt finishing four points clear of Uganda and six ahead of Ghana in their pool.
A 100 per cent record on home turf laid the foundations for that success, but this well-drilled outfit also showed enough on the road to suggest that travel sickness is not an issue.
In former Valencia and Inter Milan manager Cuper, the Pharaohs have an experienced and highly-respected head coach who has never shirked a challenge when facing more illustrious rivals.
That should stand them in good stead when starting out with tough tests against Uruguay and Russia, with a win over rank outsiders Saudi Arabia then expected in the final round of fixtures.
Odds correct on date of publication: 21/05/2018
Mohamed Salah is Egypt’s talisman and the Liverpool ace justified that star billing by scoring 71 per cent of his side’s goals in qualifying.
After a superb season for the Reds helped him pick up a series of individual awards, the flying winger will be the key to how punters see the Pharaohs faring in any Egypt World Cup 2018 betting tips and predictions.
“I think Salah is one of the best players in the world right now,” said Cuper, comparing him favourably to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
“I don’t know if we are a great team, but we cover what Salah gives us, we try to give as much security as we can as a team and until now we have been able to achieve things.”
Arsenal midfielder Mohamed El Neny is another player to watch out for if fully recovering from an ankle injury.
In defence, Aston Villa full-back Ahmed Elmohamady and West Brom duo Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr are familiar faces.
Meanwhile, 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary is set to add to his tally of over 150 international caps after an injury to Ahmed El Shenawy.
Rank (world): 31
WC appearances: 2
Best effort: First stage in 1934 and 1990
Road to Russia
Ghana 1-1 EGY
EGY 2-1 Congo
EGY 1-0 Uganda
Uganda 1-0 EGY
EGY 2-0 Ghana
Congo 1-2 EGY
Essam El-Hadary (GK)
Ahmed Hegazi (D)
Mohamed El Neny (M)
Mohamed Salah (F)
Hector Cuper – ARG