Egypt are in Group A with hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia as they bid to become the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals.
Led by the marauding Mohamed Salah, fresh from a remarkable season with Liverpool, Egypt return to the global football quadrennial tournament for the first time after 28 years.
Since their last World Cup appearance in 1990, Egypt have gone to win four Africa Cup of Nations titles but had failed to transform their continental dominance onto the global stage.
However despite being snubbed from the squad headed for Russia, El-Shahat is backing Egypt for an incredible run at the tournament.
“The Uruguay match is definitely the toughest, and if we succeed in achieving a positive result, either a win or a draw, it will pave our way to qualify for the second round,” El-Shahat told DMC Sports.
“I think Egypt will be the surprise of the World Cup and will make it to the second round.”
El-Shahat was in the running for a place in the Egypt team but Argentine coach Hector Cuper overlooked him despite being involved in 18 goals in 11 games for Abu Dhabi side Al-Ain whom he joined in January from Egyptian Premier League side Misr El-Makkasa.
“Whether they were going to take me or not, I will always respect the decisions of the technical staff. I am not sad and I hope the team will honor our country and the whole Arab world in the World Cup,” he said.
Egypt have never won a match in their only two previous appearances at the World Cup.