Mohamed Salah has been declared fit for Egypt’s opening World Cup game, less than three weeks after being injured in the Champions League final.
Salah left the field in tears as Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid on May 26, at which point it looked inconceivable he would be available for his nation’s first Group A match in Russia.
After three weeks of treatment, Salah’s international coach says he will make his return when his country meet Uruguay in Yekaterinburg today.
“I can almost assure you 100 per cent he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute,” said Egypt’s coach, Hector Cuper.
Salah’s presence will be hailed by his country who feared the worst when his shoulder suffered under the weight of a challenge by Sergio Ramos in Kiev.
It is also good news for the competition given the genuine concern for his fitness in the immediate aftermath of the final.
The pressure on the player to feature extended to Egypt’s President – and his own desire to participate must have been a factor in how quickly he is being readied for action.
There was no prospect of Salah giving up on his dream given his role in taking Egypt to the competition.
Salah struck the winning goal that led Egypt to their first World Cup since 1990 and he will be a star of the tournament should he replicate his club form.
Cuper has tried to suggest there is more to Egypt than Salah, saying: “Our tactics don't solely revolve around him.”
Such claims will fall on deaf ears. Egypt’s hopes of making an impression on their group clearly depend on Salah. Whether his presence alone can inspire the country remains to be seen.