Egypt coach Hector Cuper is optimistic Mohamed Salah will be fit for the World Cup, but accepted his team struggled without their “weapon” against Colombia.
With Salah sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Egypt played out a 0-0 draw against Colombia in Bergamo Friday.
The Liverpool star suffered the injury during his team’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid May 26, sparking fears he could miss Russia 2018.
Speaking after his side’s friendly draw, Cuper said he still remained confident Salah would be fit for the showpiece tournament.
“We are optimistic, and every medical report says he will make it,” he said.
“But we still have to prepare for any situation that could happen before we start.”
— Egypt National Football Team (@Pharaohs) June 1, 2018
Egypt have another friendly before their World Cup opener against Uruguay June 15, facing Belgium Wednesday.
Cuper said his side missed Salah, while adding Ramadan had impacted his players’ energy levels.
“Salah is not easy to replace, no doubt about that,” he said.
“He is a weapon for us, especially on counter-attack, making use of his speed and his quality.
“That’s why today we struggled in our attacking performance. We tried to compensate that with some team playing, but as I said in the second half we lacked stamina because we have a special condition … for religious reasons, players don’t drink nor eat anything, and we actually felt that.
“We tried to manage it using the whole team so it could try to respond better. We sprinted very well, because it was not easy to recover the ball.”
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