Egypt manager Hector Cuper has explained his reasoning behind leaving star man Mohamed Salah on the bench in his side’s 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The Pharaohs fell to a late defeat in their Group A opener in the absence of the Liverpool forward, who has spent the past three weeks nursing a dislocated shoulder.
Cuper was confident on the eve of the match that Salah would play a part, either from the off or as a second-half substitute, but the 26-year-old remained unused despite the tight nature of the contest at Central Stadium.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Cuper stressed that he could not risk Salah ahead of games against Saudi Arabia and tournament hosts Russia.
“Mo Salah is an important player for us but you need to have a good team, and we have a good team,” he said. “Salah will have an important role for us in the future matches.
“We wanted to avoid risks in this match [with Salah], but I think he will be fine for the next game [against Russia].”
Salah scored 43 goals for Liverpool in all competitions last season prior to damaging his shoulder in the 3-1 Champions League final loss to Real Madrid.