Russia on brink of next stage after defeating Egypt 3-1

Egypt's Mohamed Salah waves for fans during a World Cup training session at Cairo international stadium on 9 June 2018

And part of the reason is that this was not the Salah that wowed for his club.

"We had a good first half but then we had 10-15 really bad minutes and that's why we lost". He wasn't his usual bustling self and clearly needs time to get into rhythm. A strong run from Mohamed Abdel Shafy inside Russia's half was capped off with a good pass to Mohsen who left the ball for Mohamed Salah to receive.

Stanislav Cherchesov's side have scored as many goals in 180 minutes as Spain did on their way to winning the 2010 tournament.

Despite the back and forth early rhythm of the game, the two teams became more cautious after a string of risky attacks on both sides. Eight goals scored, one conceded.

As the hosts of the 2018 World Cup, Russia's minimum goal is to reach the knockout stage. The best expectations in the weeks ahead of the tournament were that Salah would miss Uruguay but be able to return by the second Group A match.

Two wins, eight goals and nearly certainly a place in the knockout stage for first time since the Soviet era.

Since making his national-team debut in 2011 he's gone on to feature in no fewer than 57 global outings, registering 33 goals - most notably converting the penalty against the Republic of the Congo to book their finals passage - and creating a further 18 for his teammates.

Cheryshev's son, former Real Madrid midfielder Denis, will be hoping to line up against Salah in midweek after stepping off the bench to bag a brace in a 5-0 mauling of Saudi Arabia.

The score was opened two minutes into the second half, when a ball cannoned by Russia's Roman Zobnin ricocheted off Egypt's Ahmed Fathi into the right corner of the Egyptian net. But that defensive strength wasn't evident against Russian Federation, which got three second-half goals.

It was Cheryshev's third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart. All this is to say, neither team will want to risk wrecking its chances on Gameday 3, so a draw seems like the best bet.

BS: ... I thought Egypt was supposed to be pretty stout and well organized and they didn't look like it tonight. The late concession of a victor to Jose Gimenez stung further.

The National Anthems! Plenty of Egyptian fans in attendance tonight! And with Group A one of the weakest, there was an excellent opportunity to make history.

Russian Federation sit top of Group A with six, while a victory for Uruguay against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday will confirm Egypt's exit.