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Here FIFA World Cup 2018 guide for Middle East teams

The 2018 World Cup in Russia is set to welcome five Middle East and North African national teams to the tournament - the most Middle Eastern World Cup ever.

With just a few days until opening match kicks off, it's the perfect time to meet the region's representatives in football's most prestigious competition.


Nickname: The Pharaohs
Coach: Hector Cúper

Star: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Arriving to Russia as: A promising squad, with all hopes resting on the shoulder of one player

Expectations: Round of 16. 

Egypt has returned to the World Cup after an absence of 28 years, and the nation has gone crazy for the Pharoahs since the qualification match against Congo Brazzaville. But all year, with every twist and turn of Mohamed Salah's contribution to Liverpool's fantastic season, the expectations have been raised higher and higher. 

Egypt is attending its third World Cup finals, and they are bringing one of the planet's best footballers.

That said, in the final match of the European season - the Champions League final - Egypt's dream suffered a huge blow as a collision with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos dislocated Saleh's shoulder.

It was thought the injury would sideline him for four weeks, and badly hit the Pharaohs' training period.

But even though, aside from Salah, Cúper has brought only two natural strikers to Egypt - Marwan Mohsen and Mahmoud Kahraba, it would be wrong to underestimate the Egyptian squad's talent. 

Ramadan Sobhy, Mahmoud Trezeguet, Amr Warda and Ahmed Hegazy are coming to the finals after a positive season, and with Abdallah Said and Essam El-Hadary's experience, Egypt definitely has a decent team sheet any day of the week.

While Egypt represent the best chance for Arab fans at the World Cup, it has become clear from every friendly warm-up match that they are just not the same team without Salah. 

A 1-1 draw with Kuwait, a lucky 0-0 with Colombia and a 3-0 hammering loss to Belgium. In fact, since that famous match against Congo, Egypt haven't won a single match in six games. 

In March, they were dominating Portugal 1-0 and looked good, but after Salah was withdrawn, the red-shirted Pharoahs conceded two goals and lost the game.

According to multiple reports, Salah's recovery is going well - and every Egyptian is praying for the player's full restoration to match fitness. 

The hopes of Egypt qualifying as one of the top two teams in Group A - which also holds Uruguay, the Russian hosts and the Saudis - all laying on one shoulder of the kid from Nagrig. Ya rab.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly).

Defenders: Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf (all Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al Fateh, Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, England), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC, USA).

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, (Zamalek), Shikabala (Zamalek), Abdallah Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athens, Greece).

Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, England).

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Source: alaraby

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