NIZHINIY NOVGOROD, Russian Federation, Jun 11 – Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said Monday that he hopes Egyptian star Mohamed Salah will be fit to play when the two countries clash in their opening World Cup match on Friday.
Following an hour-long training session for the Celeste at their humble Bor training camp just outside the city of Nizhny Novgorod, Muslera said he wants Salah to fully recover from the shoulder injury sustained in the recent Champions League final.
“I’m with Luis (Suarez), I like the best players to play, I train with the best and I want the best players to play,” said Muslera.
Doubts persist over Salah’s fitness but the Egyptian star said from the team’s base in Grozny on Monday that he was “well-prepared” for the tournament.
On May 30, Egypt officials said Salah would be out for “not more” than three weeks, which would rule him out of the Uruguay match but put him in the frame for Russia on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25.
Back in Nizhny Novgorod, Uruguay’s training session, overseen by veteran coach Oscar Tabarez, was their first since arriving in Russia 24 hours before.
Following an exhausting 16-hour flight, the team faces another four hours on a plane for the game against Egypt, which will be played in Ekaterinburg.
Muslera, who plays for Turkish club Galatasaray, shrugged off travel fatigue being a problem, saying Uruguay had five days to prepare for the game.
Defender Jose Maria Gimenez said the Egypt game was the “most important” as it would set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
Uruguay are the favourites in Group A, which also includes hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, who kick off the World Cup on June 14.
Russian schoolchildren were allowed into the training session, and unsurprisingly shouted out for Uruguay’s two biggest stars — Barcelona’s Suarez and Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani.