Things would get worse before they got better for Egypt, as Dzyuba finally got his deserved goal minutes later. Russia lobbed a hopeful free kick from the halfway line toward goal. The agile big man controlled the ball with his chest, slipped past an Egyptian defender, and fired home to put Russia ahead by 3-0.
Egypt poured numbers forward for the final thirty minutes of the game, knowing they needed at least three, and probably four, goals to keep their World Cup hopes alive. It was not to be.
Salah did pull one back after he was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty kick, which he thumped past Igor Akinfeev in the 73rd minute for Egypt’s first goal of the tournament. But Salah looked rusty, and struggled with his first touch all night. Unable to drag Egypt to victory, as he did with Liverpool so many times last season, and without any other attackers capable of doing so, Salah was helpless as Russia saw out the game easily.
To miss the knockout round now, Russia would have to lose to Uruguay, see Saudi Arabia defeat both Uruguay and Egypt, and surrender its enormous goal differential. Similarly, to qualify for the next round Egypt would have to beat Saudi…