Egypt coach ‘very optimistic’ Salah will play opener

Egypt coach Hector Cuper says he is “very optimistic” that Mohamed Salah will play in his team’s World Cup opener against Uruguay.

Cuper announced the development during a news conference in advance of Friday’s matchup.

Cuper said officials would continue to monitor Salah during their training session Thursday. But he said he was expecting his star striker to be on the field.

Salah had been questionable since suffering a left shoulder injury during a collision with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final last month in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Salah almost single-handedly led Egypt to its spot in the 32-team World Cup field. He scored five goals in six games in the first round of the qualifiers, including a late penalty that earned the seven-time African champions their first World Cup berth since 1990.

Salah will celebrate his 26th birthday Friday.