Egypt hopes to build on a strong performance in CAF World Cup qualifying as they prepare to make their first FIFA World Cup appearance since 1990. The Pharaohs narrowly missed advancing out of the group stage at the 1990 edition of the tournament in Italy, playing the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland to draws before getting bounced from the competition with a 1-0 loss to England.

Despite that strong showing, Egypt’s national football team has yet to claim a victory in two all-time World Cup appearances, including their tournament debut in 1934.

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Egypt’s Odds to Win World Cup: +15000

Following a 28-year absence from the World Cup, the Pharaohs return to the tournament amid tempered, yet realistic, expectations. Pegged at No. 46 on the FIFA World Ranking, Egypt looks toward Russia 2018 as the African side with the best odds in World Cup betting, joining Senegal at +15000.

The Pharaohs have benefited from a fortuitous World Cup draw that has grouped them with tournament long shots Saudi Arabia. However, the Egyptians have been plagued by inconsistency at recent international tournaments and in post-qualifying friendlies, compiling a 0-1-4 win-draw-loss record in five such contests since June 2017.

Egypt’s Odds to Win Group A: +550

With no dominant favorite emerging, Group A is a strong candidate to produce the Cinderella story at this year’s edition of the World Cup. Egypt sits third on the odds to win Group A at +550. That closely trails Uruguay, which remains perched as a +100 favorite, and host nation Russia at +125.

While the Pharaohs have never faced the Russians on the pitch, they were blanked 2-0 in their only previous meeting with Uruguay in a 2006 friendly. As a result, a victory over Saudi Arabia in their group stage finale on June 25 will likely be crucial to their chances of paying out as a +160 bet to advance from the group stage.

The Pharaohs have posted two consecutive wins over the Saudis, who trail as +3300 Group A long shots. However, Egypt remains favored to see their World Cup dreams end in the group stage, with short -200 odds of the side failing to advance to the knockout stage.

Conversely, a run to the World Cup quarterfinal would reward bettors by paying out on +800 odds.

Egypt’s Best World Cup Bets

Clearly, Egypt’s best bet at the 2018 FIFA World Cup comes when they take on Saudi Arabia as -145 favorites on the World Cup game line odds. However, Egyptian soccer supporters will also be closely watching the progress of Russia’s national side as it prepares to welcome the world at this year’s tournament.

Russia was exempted from qualifying from this year’s tournament, and has produced meager results on the international stage, posting just one win in their past nine major tournament matches, a 2-0 win over lightweight New Zealand at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup.

The Russians followed up that tournament appearance with just one win in five international friendlies, and could be ripe for the picking when Egypt takes them on in their Group A clash on June 19 as +300 underdogs on the game lines.

Egypt’s Player to Watch: Mohamed Salah

Egypt’s success at Russia 2018 will likely hinge on the performance of superstar Mohamed Salah. The 25-year-old potted five of Egypt’s eight goals during the third round of CAF World Cup qualifying, with the Pharaohs marching to victory in each of the four matches in which he scored.

In addition, Salah has emerged as a star with Liverpool FC this season, potting 32 markers to lead all Premier League goal scorers, and adding 11 goals through his first 14 UEFA Champions League appearances with the Reds.

While Salah may be the most gifted goal scorer at this year’s World Cup, he remains well back of the favorites on the odds to be the top goal scorer at Russia 2018, pegged at +5000, and a long +3300 bet on the World Cup Golden Ball odds.

Egypt’s Road to Russia

The Pharaohs enjoyed an impressive run through CAF World Cup qualifying, dominating Chad in a 4-1 aggregate win in second-round action before compiling a 4-1-1 record while surrendering just four total goals in the third and final round to claim top spot in Group E.

However, Egypt struggled in subsequent friendly tilts with European sides, coming up just short in a 1-0 loss to Greece on March 27 after getting beaten in a 2-1 loss to European champions Portugal in a March 18 matchup.

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Egypt’s 2018 World Cup Squad
Number Player Position Club Caps
1 Essam El-Hadary GK Al-Taawoun 158
16 Sherif Ekramy GK Al-Ahly 23
23 Mohamed El-Shenawy GK Al-Ahly 3
2 Ali Gabr DEF West Bromwich Albion 22
3 Ahmed Elmohamady DEF Aston Villa 78
6 Ahmed Hegazi DEF West Bromwich Albion 45
7 Ahmed Fathi DEF Al-Ahly 126
12 Ayman Ashraf DEF Al-Ahly 5
13 Mohamed Abdel-Shafy DEF Al-Ahly 51
15 Mahmoud Hamdy ‘El-Winsh’ DEF Zamalek 1
20 Saad Samir DEF Al-Ahly 11
4 Omar Gabr MID Los Angeles FC 25
5 Sam Morsy MID Wigan Athletic 5
8 Tarek Hamed MID Zamalek 22
17 Mohamed Elneny MID Arsenal 61
18 Mahmoud Abdel Razek ‘Shikabala’ MID Zamalek 30
19 Abdallah El-Said MID Al-Ahly 37
22 Amr Warda MID Paok 17
9 Marwan Mohsen FWD Al-Ahly 25
10 Mohamed Salah FWD Liverpool 57
11 Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim ‘Kahraba’ FWD Al-Ittihad 20
14 Ramadan Sobhi FWD Stoke City 24
21 Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ FWD Anderlecht 25
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