Egypt vs Uruguay World Cup 2018
While Uruguay and Egypt have never played each other in a competitive fixture, it is not hard to see that there is a gulf in class between the two nations, both historically and currently. Uruguay rank more than 30 places higher than the Egyptians in the official FIFA rankings, and boast a number of household names.
Uruguay’s road to the World Cup is normally treacherous considering they compete for places with the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, although on this occasion the Uruguayans wrapped up qualification with time to spare, finishing second behind Brazil in the standings.
While Uruguay are constantly playing against high-calibre opponents, the Egyptians rarely play matches outside of their home continent, which gives the South Americans a huge advantage. Although qualifying for the World Cup is never easy, the Egyptians only needed favourable results against Uganda, Ghana, Congo and Chad in their quest to reach their third World Cup.
Which leads us to another important factor – Uruguay have much more experience at the World Cup, having played in 12 of the tournaments to date including the last two editions. Pedigree matters in this tournament, and the fact that Egypt have not featured at the event since 1990 is against them in this matchup.
While Uruguay have not won an opener at the World Cup since 1970, we can’t see this trend continuing. With high-quality European and South American-based players across the pitch, it’s going to be hard to see the Egyptians compete. We expect the Uruguayans to dominate possession and score early, as they have a tendency of doing, while Egypt’s best chance will be to utilise the pace of Mo Salah on the counter.
We’re predicting a 1-0 win to the Uruguayans, with a goal in the first half.
Egypt vs Uruguay Preview
Egypt successfully reached the final of the African Cup of Nations in early 2017 in a campaign built around defence (they conceded just one goal in the four matches prior to the final). Their style of play has been criticised at times by the Egyptian media, although as long as games are being won it’s hard to argue with the tactic.
It’s important to have a plan B though, and manager Héctor Cúper will surely have to rethink his strategy against the attacking players that Uruguay have at their disposal. Excluding the 3-0 friendly win against Togo, the Egyptians have only managed one goal per game since the start of the ACON tournament, and you can’t reach the Round of 16 at the World Cup without scoring more than your opponents.
Much has been made of the big names up front, but it is a changing of the guard in midfield that is perhaps the biggest talking point in this Uruguayan side. Names like Vecino, Nández and Bentancur may not quite be household yet, but they are likely to play a big role in this tournament and in the future. They are young and attack-minded players, which is perhaps why Oscar Tabarez has utilised such an attacking philosophy.
Surely this has to continue, particularly with a workhorse like Luis Suarez at the focal point of the side’s forward movement. In a group in which they are the clear favourites, a strong statement in the first match will be of critical importance.
They key to this fixture will be breaking down the miserly defence that Egypt have established over the last 18 months. Uruguay will also need to be wary of Salah’s presence (should he prove fit for this match) when they inevitably do push men forward.
At present, the odds available on Uruguay winning are decent considering they are easily the better side on paper. At approximately -190, you can certainly profit from a head to head bet here. The draw is +289 and an unlikely Egyptian victory is priced at +570.
Head to Head Alternatives
The ‘half-time / full-time’ market is probably the best option in this match considering the unique trend that we’ve seen with Uruguay. An early goal is perhaps vital to their success, and as per our above analysis it seems a likely outcome.
The Uruguay / Uruguay double is paying +156, which would present a fantastic return on investment if all goes as we expect.
Likewise, there is little harm in picking the ‘correct score’ in this match. The favourite is our preference – a 1-0 victory to Uruguay – and that will fetch you +364. The 0-0 draw and 2-0 win to the Uruguayans are the next best bets, paying +584 and +471 respectively.
Finally, the trend here is for only Uruguay to score in this match, and in the ‘which teams will score?’ market you will get odds of +115 for the South Americans to score at least one goal and keep a clean sheet.
Group A Betting Odds