Mohamed Salah left out of Egypt's starting XI against Uruguay

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah shares a joke with his Egypt teammates ahead of Friday's clash with Uruguay Credit AFP

"Why not?" asked Cuper when it was put to him that Salah could, despite all the hand-wringing, finish as top scorer in the tournament.

But Godin has both denied that he will target Mohamed Salah in Uruguay's World Cup group opener against Egypt and that Ramos meant to injure the Liverpool forward during last month's Champions League final.

What: Egypt will play Uruguay in a Group A game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

What time does the World Cup Egypt vs Uruguay match begin?

The Barcelona star will make his first World Cup appearance, playing up front for Uruguay with PSG's Edinson Cavani, since he was found guilty of biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini four years ago. The north Africans, contesting their first World Cup since 1990, were for the main part fairly comfortable in defence and Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny was a constant presence at the base of Egypt's midfield. Uruguay is now second, also with three points.

If Salah is passed fit on Saturday then Cuper can call on one of the latter - and for Egypt, like Uruguay, anything might just be possible. Uruguayans wanted the same thing, to win the match. "I can nearly assure you 100% he'll play", coach Cuper had told the press on the eve of the much-anticipated clash.

With this result, Uruguay occupied the second place on goal difference with Russian Federation who had defeated Saudi Arabia with a humiliating 5-0 victory in the showpiece event's opening game.

Cavani and Suarez didn't receive the support they needed and at times had to return to the middle of the field as playmakers, not a role for a duo which has combined for 93 worldwide goals.

"Salah is a big, decisive player and we prepare ourselves in the same way whether he is [playing] or not."

After injuring his shoulder in Liverpool's Champions League final, it was the news that the nation was dreading. The doctors are giving him the option to play or not.

Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group A in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport's daily World Cup podcast.

Egypt's Tarek Hamed (right) slides in for the tackle on Uruguay's Edinson Cavani during their Group A match in Yekaterinburg.

Trump says his agreement with North Korea will be good for China
Diego Maradona attacks hosts for lacking passion