The Fifa World Cup is eight days away and nations are getting ready for the global showpiece. Egypt’s coach, Hector Cuper is adamant that his star player, Mohammed Salah, will be ready for the showpiece in Russia. Powerhouses, Spain and Germany, winners of the previous two finals, are also looking forward to the World Cup.
A shoulder injury sustained in the UEFA Champions’ League final, after a challenge by Sergio Ramos, has not stopped Egypt from naming their star player, Liverpool striker Mohammed Salah, in the squad to Russia.
There were concerns that he might not play in the group stages of the tournament, but these are likely to dissipate, as Cuper states that there is a possibility that Mo Salah will be present for Egypt’s first World Cup match in 28 years.
He is almost certain that his star player will be ready.
“Mohamed Salah has had very good medical care; his exercises are serving not only in his recovery of his shoulder injury, but also to maintain a good level of physical fitness. This is within the limits of his ability to train, because he is obviously restricted. We have only good news. There is optimism that he will have recovered in the days running up to the match against Uruguay, that he will join us on the 8-9th June. We hope, we are almost certain that he will be present for the first match against Uruguay.”
Germany, the current holders of the World Cup, named their 23-man squad on Monday. The surprise omission was Leroy Sane of Manchester City, who had a brilliant season in England. The Germans are determined to retain the trophy. They are in Group F alongside, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea. German player Mats Hummels says that they are going to try and win the tournament again.
“We just want to win because we know that we can be good enough and because it’s so much fun to do well in a tournament like this one. I think we have the right means for it both on a sporting and tactical level. But it’s up to us to implement it.”
Another German player Sami Khedira also shares the same sentiments as his German compatriot.
“It definitely won’t be easy. A soccer World Cup is incredibly intense because it lasts four weeks. There are different time zones with long journeys to get to one place and then there are opponents whom we don’t know their strengths and weaknesses yet.”
Meanwhile Spanish player, Andres Iniesta was presented with the highest sporting award in Spain, the Cross of Merits in Sports. The award was presented by the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez.
Iniesta scored the only goal to win Spain the first ever World Cup in South Africa in 2010. He says that he would not have done it without the help of his teammates.
“I want to thank my teammates, both in the national team and my club, that I was selected to receive this award because it is largely thanks to them, many thanks.”
The World Cup starts next week Thursday. Bongani Morake