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Egypt coach Hector Cuper is very optimistic about Mohamed Salah's chances of playing against Uruguay on Friday.

Egypt coach Hector Cuper has explained that he kept star player Mohamed Salah on bench against Uruguay on Friday to keep him in good form for matches against Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

The Group A encounter featured few good chances for either side before a late surge from Uruguay culminated in Gimenez's 89th-minute victor.

The result means Russian Federation are top of Group A after their 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the tournament's opening game on Thursday.

Salah's absence is a blow to Egypt's hopes of making a strong start to their World Cup assault in Russian Federation, against a talented Uruguay side boasting former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez.

The former Liverpool striker did, however, latch onto a through ball from strike partner Edinson Cavani at the start of the second half, shrugged off a challenge and forced a fine save from the inexperienced Mohamed El Shenawy.

Gimenez's goal took Uruguay level on points with Group A leaders Russian Federation and boosted their chances of making the knockout stages for the third successive World Cup after reaching the semi-finals in 2010 and last 16 in 2014. The stadium capacity is 33,061.

The 1-0 defeat in Ekaterinburg was the first World Cup match for The Pharaohs since they fell to England by the same scoreline during the Italy-hosted 1990 tournament.

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From 1970 until Friday, Uruguay had lost three games and drawn another three in its opening World Cup games.

The script seemed set for Mohamed Salah to make the World Cup debut of a lifetime.

"Luis Suarez is no doubt more mature now and he has matured a great deal", said Tabarez, the 71-year-old veteran who leads a Uruguayan side tipped as possible finalists by some.

"I don't know what happened but I will not speculate".

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said: "To win matches in this group means we will be able to progress".

"I think we have what we have, and we try to do our best with what we have, " Cuper said.

FC's Shaka Hislop is shocked Egypt's Mohamed Salah didn't feature against Uruguay, who capitalised late to keep pace with Russian Federation in Group A.

"We want him on top form for Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation".