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Saudi Arabia vs Egypt Preview and Predictions

 

On Monday afternoon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt go head-to-head in their last game of Group A at the World Cup.

The pair has both suffered elimination from the competition, having lost their first two group games against Russia and Uruguay, who have advanced to the knockout stages. The two teams will be looking to avoid finishing bottom of the group.

Saudi Arabia have enjoyed another poor World Cup campaign, conceding six goals and failing to find the net in the process. The Asian country has now lost five straight games in the group stages of the World Cup. >

In fact, they have now failed to win in 12 matches at the competition, suffering ten defeats in the process. Scoring goals have been a problem for the Saudi’s at the World Cup, as they have failed to score in seven of their last eight games in the group stages.

Egypt are participating in only their third World Cup and will be looking for their first-ever victory in the competition, as they have failed to win any of their six games in the tournament. A win would be a historical result for Hector Cuper’s team.

Like their opponents, the Pharaohs have also had trouble scoring goals at the World Cup, as the African team have scored just once in their last five appearances. The fact that star man Mohamed Salah was not fully fit hampered their chances of a successful World Cup, as Pharaoh’s boss Cuper has recently stated.

Egypt heads into this dead rubber on a winless run of eight games in international football. In fact, the African team suffered five defeats in those eight winless games.

Sportseconds predicts that this game will end in a low-scoring draw, which would mean Saudi Arabia finishing bottom of the group.

2018 World Cup ALL SPORTS Breaking News Other Sports Slider Top news

World Cup 2018: Saudi Arabia

 

Saudi Arabia’s quest to win the World Cup 2018 kicks off on June 14 in Moscow. The Saudis will take on hosts Russia in the first match of the event.

Juan Antonio Pizzi’s team will be the second lowest ranked nation according to FIFA when the tournament begins. Who is the lowest? Saudi Arabia’s first match opponents Russia, who are ranked 65th in the world, two places below Saudi Arabia.

Based on FIFA rankings, English newspaper The Guardian has labelled Group A as the weakest in the tournament. Although Uruguay are the highest ranked nation of the four teams in Group A, and should win it, second place could go to any of the other three: Saudi Arabia, Russia or Egypt.

Pizzi’s team just edged an underachieving Australia in Asian Football Confederation qualifying thanks to a superior goal difference. While both teams finished on 19 points, the Saudis boasted a +7-goal difference. The two goals that separated the nations meant Saudi Arabia qualified automatically rather than in the AFC playoff game.

Pizzi was appointed as team manager in November 2017. It hasn’t been a position many have been able to get comfortable in. The expectations of the Saudi Arabian Football Assocation don’t seem to be based in reality much of the time. Upon being hired, Pizzi was the third coach in three months appointed to head the nation. Pizzi joined Saudi Arabia after failing to lead Chile to World Cup qualification.

In preparation for the World Cup, the national team has spent several training camps in Marbella. It has given the Saudi team the chance to train away from the country’s FA and press. Whether it will work is anyone’s guess.

Pizzi favours a high-energy team that isn’t afraid to pressure the ball. His tactics see his players win the football and attack quickly. Saudi Arabia’s results have been decent under Pizzi as the team have won three, drawn once and lost twice with him in charge. The team’s wins over Moldova and Algeria were completely expected. However, a draw against Ukraine wasn’t; and it could be a sign of things to come in the team’s opener against Russia. Pizzi also guided the Saudis to a win over Greece in the team’s most recent friendly. However, Greece will not be at the World Cup and it is difficult to gauge just how good the Green Falcons are leading up to the tournament.

Striker Mohammad Al-Sahlawi led all AFC players in scoring during qualifying with 16 goals. His total was impressive, although Saudi Arabia had 18 qualifiers for him to score them in. Regardless, he will be the team’s main goal scorer in Russia. Fahad Al-Muwallad is considered Saudi Arabia’s potential breakout star. The winger spent the last season on loan at Levante, but that move was mostly down to the Saudi FA working out a deal with Spanish teams to send players out on loan. He played just twice for Levante. Regardless, the 23-year-old could be the spark to the team’s attack.

Saudi Arabia will benefit from being in Group A. If the team can get a result against Russia on matchday 1 and a result against Egypt nine days later, they could come second. Uruguay should top the group, but the Green Falcons may make it difficult for that to happen.