Uruguay snatched a late winner as they began their World Cup campaign with a dramatic victory over Egypt, who left Mohamed Salah on the bench. Jose Gimenez headed powerfully into the net in the 90th minute as he met Carlos Sanchez’s free-kick to give the South Americans a winning start in Russia. Uruguay had been the better side as Luis Suarez had missed four chances and Edinson Cavani had hit the inside of a post with a 25-yard free-kick. Salah, who scored 44 times for Liverpool this season, remained an unused substitute as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury sustained in last month’s Champions League final. Without Salah, Egypt lacked a cutting edge and had looked on course to earn a point in their first match at a World Cup finals since 1990 before Gimenez’s late goal. The result means Russia are top of Group A after their 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the tournament’s opening game on Thursday. Suarez off form but Uruguay win it It had looked like being a frustrating afternoon for two-time World Cup winners Uruguay, with Barcelona forward Suarez surprisingly off form. He was making his 99th international appearance and was playing in a World Cup finals game for the first time since being banned from all football related activity for four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Brazil 2014. But at the Ekaterinburg Arena Suarez proved wasteful. He shot off target early on, scuffed a shot wide when unmarked only six yards out and was then twice denied by Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy – who saved one shot with his legs and then stopped Suarez from taking the ball around him. Uruguay finished the match strongly with El-Shenawy making a fantastic one-handed save to push away Cavani’s well-struck effort from the edge of the penalty area late on. Cavani later hit the post with a fine 25-yard free-kick before El-Shenawy was beaten in the 90th minute.
Egypt remain without a World Cup win – the stats
- Uruguay have won their opening match at a World Cup tournament for the first time since 1970, when they beat Israel.
- Egypt are still winless at the World Cup finals, failing to win five matches (drew two, lost three).
- Jose Gimenez’s winning goal in the 90th minute was Uruguay’s latest winning goal in a World Cup match since Daniel Fonseca’s 92nd minute winner against South Korea in June 1990.
- Egypt have failed to score in each of their last three World Cup matches.
- African teams are winless in their last 19 World Cup encounters with South American teams (drew four, lost 15) since Cameroon beat Colombia in June 1990.
- Jose Gimenez has scored in consecutive appearances for Uruguay, also scoring in a friendly against Uzbekistan.
- Uruguay have won each of their last three World Cup group stage games with a goal scored in the last 10 minutes of matches.
- Three of Uruguay’s last four World Cup goals have been scored via headers – only three of their previous 22 World Cup goals had been headed.
- This was Oscar Tabarez’s 16th World Cup match in charge of Uruguay – only one manager has managed more matches for a South American country at the World Cup (Mario Zagallo for Brazil, 20 games).
- Oscar Tabarez became the fifth manager to take charge of the same country at four different World Cup finals (1990, 2010, 2014 and 2018), after Walter Winterbottom (England), Josef Herberger (Germany), Helmut Schon (Germany) and Lajos Bartori (Hungary).