With the World Cup fast approaching on the horizon, Egypt and Colombia are set to do battle on Friday evening (1 June) with one eye already on their group games in Russia. A win would be ideal to give the players a morale boost before the action gets underway on 14 June.
First things first
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Analysing the options
For Egypt, this is a game of huge significance. The African outfit have been in desperately poor form of late and have failed to register a win in any of their last four outings.
Colombia, by way of comparison, have won two of their last three and can come into this game brimming with confidence. And it is indeed the Colombians who come into this clash as the clear favourites, priced at a lowly 1.53 to walk away with the win, whilst Egypt are priced far out at 6.50, according to Oddsshark.
Egyptian fans continue to sweat on the fitness of star forward Mohamed Salah, who went off injured after half an hour of the UEFA Champions League final this past Saturday. With the Liverpool forward out of contention for this one it is Colombian forwards who occupy the top positions in the numbers to score in this game.
Radamel Falcao is priced at 2,20 to score at any time during the game and 4.33 to score first, while Bayern Munich star James Rodriguez is at 2.62 to score during the game or 5.50 to get the first goal. With their recent encouraging form, which included a thrilling 3-2 win over France, Colombia are expected to be amongst the goals once again on Friday night.
Salah was missing for Egypt’s game against Kuwait in which his teammates could only muster a 1-1 draw. Colombia are much stronger opposition and it will be necessary for someone to step up to the plate and try and carry the team forward.
The chances of that happening look slim, however, and Egypt’s best chances of emerging with some sort of result may well be to play for a draw. A stalemate is keenly priced at 3.80.
Colombia, however, will be coming into this game full of confidence and in the mood to score goals. Given the fact they are in excellent form and in a fairly straightforward World Cup group, their Argentine coach Jose Pekerman should be feeling positive about putting in a good showing at the World Cup next month.
James Rodriguez is the chief creator for Pekerman’s side and, after an excellent season at German league champions Bayern Munich, looks ready and raring to go. If Colombia fire on all cylinders then this could be a mauling, and the odds of the South Americans winning this one by a margin of three goals is priced at 7.50.
Pekerman’s side are being tipped as wide outsiders to actually win the World Cup this summer, and a perfect head of steam looks to be in full motion. A final win against Egypt would be the cherry on the cake.
However, how they compete away from the comforts of their own continent is yet to be seen, and this game could well be more challenging than many envisage. Egypt are also an attacking side and both sides could score on Friday – both teams to score is priced at 2.37.
In short, this game looks to be a tale of two players. Mo Salah will be missing for Egypt, thereby leaving the side shorn of their man goal threat.
By way of contrast, Rodriguez will be starting for Colombia and should be the driving force behind their efforts in recording a third win in four matches. This game is being played in Italy but that is unlikely to strike fear into the South Americans, who have won their last two games on their travels and lost just one of their last eight.
The lack of goal threat for Egypt means this should be a comfortable win for Colombia. A 2-0 win for Pekerman’s side is priced at 6.00.
Odds: Egypt (6.00), Colombia (1.53), draw (3.80)