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Egypt had said Salah was "nearly 100 percent likely" to face Uruguay, but Cuper said he did not want to risk his talisman suffering a setback against the physical South Americans, although he expected him to be completely fit for their next games in Group A.

Egypt coach Hector Cuper has explained that he kept star player Mohamed Salah on bench against Uruguay on Friday to keep him in good form for matches against Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt will face a Russian Federation side who won their opening match against Saudi Arabia 5-0, and the Pharaohs need a positive result to keep them in contention for the knock-out stage of the tournament.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah sits on the substitutes bench before the match. However, he was missing from the starting 11 named on the team's official Twitter account, which showed Marwan Mohsen leading the attack.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani had a couple of half-chances for Uruguay in the first half, the best made by himself when he juggled the ball and lashed it on the volley from outside the box, but it was deflected over.

Egypt were blunt without their star man, falling to a disappointing 1-0 defeat, with Jose Gimenez's injury-time header gifting victory to a below-par Uruguay side.

"Salah will have an important role for us in the future matches".

Marwan Mohsen played as a lone forward for Egypt, but with Salah missing and Uruguay skipper Diego Godin imperious, he hardly had a sniff. "I don't think some of the players played as well as they can".

"Perhaps if Mo had been on the pitch, the outcome would have been different but we can't know that", Cuper told reporters.

Federation Internationale de Football Association has blamed "no-shows" for the embarrassing number of empty seats at Friday's Group A game between Egypt and Uruguay in Ekaterinburg.

"Yesterday we were quite certain that he would play".

But from pantomime villain castigated the world over (except in Uruguay), Suarez has mostly recovered his reputation.

With its traditional defensive tactics preferred by Cuper, Egypt badly needs Salah and his goals to succeed.

Mahmoud Trezeguet has assured fans that he will be fit for the Russian Federation game after slightly limping during Egypt's loss to Uruguay. "This is not a sin", Tabarez said.