x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Hector Cuper coy on Egypt's plans for 'best player in the world' Cristiano Ronaldo

Egypt on an eight-day training camp in Zurich. They will play two friendlies during their stay, with the first against the reigning European champions before they take on Greece on Tuesday

Cristiano Ronaldo performs during his team's training session at Cidade do Futebol in Oeiras, near Lisbon. Antonio Cotrim / EPA
Cristiano Ronaldo performs during his team's training session at Cidade do Futebol in Oeiras, near Lisbon. Antonio Cotrim / EPA

ZURICH // Egypt manager Hector Cuper says he has devised a strategy to limit the danger posed by the “best player in the world” when his side take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in Switzerland on Friday.

The North Africans, currently on an eight-day training camp in Zurich, are preparing for a first World Cup appearance in 28 years later this summer. Egypt will play two friendlies during their stay, with the first against the reigning European champions before they take on Greece on Tuesday.

Ranked 44th in the world, Egypt have been placed in Group A in Russia alongside the hosts, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. Their campaign kicks off against the 22nd-ranked South Americans in Yekaterinburg on June 15.

Coping with Ronaldo, the reigning Fifa World Player of the Year, should therefore stand Egypt in good stead for when they play a talented Uruguay in less than three months’ time.

"We have a plan to deal with Cristiano," Cuper said. "We have studied him very well. We are also studying Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who will lead the Uruguay attack at the World Cup.

"Of course, I will not reveal my plan on how to deal with Ronaldo. But all we can say is that we are facing the best player in the world."

_____________

Read more:

John McAuley: Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah has transformed from wideman to goal guarantor

John McAuley: Mohamed Salah-led Egypt use Zurich camp as World Cup warm-up despite contrary weather conditions

Andy Mitten: Reliving Cristiano Ronaldo's first hat-trick while at Manchester United

____________

Egypt have been training in Zurich since Tuesday, with Cuper focused primarily on working on the team’s defensive shape. Liverpool star Mohamed Salah took part in his first session on Wednesday, one of 17 overseas-based players in the 28-man squad. Egypt last contested a World Cup in 1990 - their second global finals appearance - but exited the tournament at the group stage.

The national team realise they face a difficult double-header in Zurich, with Portugal expected to name a strong line-up on Friday. Meanwhile, Greece are attempting to recover from the heartache of a World Cup play-off defeat last November to Croatia.

"I will ask the players from now on not to look at the strength or weakness of any team they will face,” Cuper said. “But to consider all their matches difficult, so they can be prepared to face Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia at the World Cup.”