EGYPT v URUGUAY: Utter heartbreak for Egypt as Uruguay get the win with a late-game header by José María Giménez. Uruguay win their first opening game since 1970. While Uruguay prevailed, they lacked fluidity. Their front two, Suarez and Cavani had disappointing games with Suarez missing absolute sitters and Cavani slowly showing presence only as the game went on. Young Egyptian keeper El Shenawy proved himself to be the right choice over veteran 45-year old El Hadary with a half a dozen impressive saves. Mo Salah did not feature.
RUSSIA v SAUDI ARABIA: The unexpected 5-0 win by the hosts showcased the talents of Aleksandr Golovin. With scorers Yuri Gazinsky, Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Golovin, the team shattered expectations both at home and abroad. While their performance inspired hope, a hamstring injury to midfielder Alan Dzagoev rules the key player out for at least the group stages. Saudi Arabia find themselves with an almost impossible task with Uruguay and Egypt as their next opponents.
Russia’s win shifts the group dynamic with not only three points on the board but a goal differential to write home about. Egypt and Uruguay will definitely want to capitalise on Saudi Arabia’s likely dampened spirits and put a few, or five, in the net as well. Egypt face Russia next and will have to play Salah if they have any hope of securing a space in the knockouts.