Saudi Arabia v Egypt Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
June 21, 2018
Volgograd Arena - World Cup Group A
Saudi Arabia play Egypt on Monday, and despite being unable to qualify for the knockouts, both sides will have a point to prove. Egypt may have put up slightly more of a fight than their neighbours but it will count for little come game-day.
Egypt were victorious in the Pan-Arab games when the sides last met, back in 2007, with Saudi Arabia's only victory over the African country coming in the Confederations Cup eight years previously.
Juan Antonio Pizzi made some major changes following his sides overwhelming defeat to Russia with the manager is likely to stick with the side that lost narrowly to Uruguay on Wednesday.
Héctor Cúper may decide to rest the talismanic Mohammed Salah, as the Liverpool winger looked far from fully fit against Russia. Given the nature of the game, the coach may be tempted to rotate his squad a little with Amr Warda likely to start.
Preview and Predictions
Despite being the first sides to be knocked out of the competition, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt will have a lot to play for on Monday. With the two countries sharing a border, bragging rights over which team nabs third place will certainly make the game worth fighting for.
For Pizzi, the match offers the opportunity to experiment for the future, as his side looked comfortable in midfield possession but struggled with creativity against Uruguay. Saudi Arabia are only just re-establishing themselves as a footballing nation, and just getting to the World Cup is a big step forward. The coach will likely be trusted to continue leading the side, but will have to find a way to get the likes of Mohammad Al-Sahlawi scoring against better sides.
Cúper, on the other hand, faces career uncertainly after the competition, with the manager under pressure even before the last two games. Controversy over player selection, not to mention playing style has seen the coach lose popularity, and it would be a shock if he is still in charge of the national team come in the autumn. As a result, Cúper will have little interest in the long-term prospects of the side, and will be looking to bow out on a high on Monday, although given his sides insipid performance against Russia, this may be easier said than done.
Egypt's looked disorganised and unadventurous on Tuesday, as the hosts tore them apart with almost every attack. The experiment of leaving Salah free from defensive responsibility backfired, as the right flank was exposed, with the winger unable to produce at the other end.
Monday provides a shot at redemption for both countries, and there certainly won't be any quarter given.
Mo Salah to score first at 4/5
The Egyptian fans that came to Russia will want to see their star man play, even if its to no avail, and Salah will try and put on a show.
Over 2.5 goals at 10/11
Neither side has looked great at the back, and will both look to score given the immaterial nature of the game.