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Salah remains a doubtful starter for Egypt's opener against Uruguay

Mohamed Salah

Bengaluru, June 12: With less than 48 hours to go for the World Cup kick off, the uncertainty over Egypt striker Mohamed Salah's fitness continues as he remains a doubtful starter for the African nations' Group A opener against Uruguay at Yekaterinburg on Friday (June 15), the country's football association has said.

The Liverpool player, who sustained a shoulder injury in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid last month, arrived with the rest of the squad in Russia and tweeted pictures.

He took part in light training on Monday (June 11) to give a sigh of relief for his fans, but the Egyptian FA's managing director Ehab Lehita said it was too early to say whether he would play against the South Americans.

"He is gradually getting better. However, I cannot confirm today that he will play in the first match," Lehita said of the 25-year-old, who scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season.

"All I can say is that we hope he will play in this match."

Egypt also face Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia in Group A as they prepare to end their 27-year wait to compete at the World Cup.

Salah left the Kiev pitch in tears last month after tangling with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in the first half of Liverpool's 3-1 defeat.

It was an injury that sent shockwaves through Egypt ahead of the World Cup in Russia, though national team boss Hector Cuper had been hopeful that the Premier League Golden Boot winner will be fit for the showpiece tournament.

Reflecting on what transpired against Madrid, Salah told Spanish daily Marca in an interview:

"Leaving the final was the worst moment of my career."

"I began to think that I would miss the World Cup, it was devastating," Salah said.

"For us to qualify for the World Cup is almost like Spain winning the title," Salah added.

Meanwhile Salah ridiculed Ramos' suggestion that he could have battled through the shoulder injury that forced him to leave the Champions League final in tears.

The Real Madrid defender was criticised heavily for his role in the incident. Ramos later mocked the "magnified" reaction and said Salah could have remained on the pitch if he received an injection, a claim rejected by the Reds star.

"My comment is that it's always okay when the one who made you cry first, then makes you laugh," Salah said.

"Maybe he could also tell me if I'm going to be ready for the World Cup?" Salah added: "He sent me a message, but I never told him it was 'okay'."

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    Story first published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 16:56 [IST]
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