Saudi Arabia v Egypt: Low-scoring clash likely for winless sides
Simon Mail previews the final group game involving Saudi Arabia and Egypt and thinks there could be a lack of goals between two sides heading home...
"Saudi Arabia have failed to score in nine of their 12 World Cup matches including both defeats this year. Egypt have also only managed to net once in two matches and that came from the penalty spot."
Saudi Arabia v Egypt
Live on ITV
Egypt still searching for first tournament win
Egypt came into the tournament with realistic hopes of progressing but their chances were derailed after Mohamed Salah's injury in the Champions League final for Liverpool. Salah missed the opening 1-0 defeat to Uruguay and lacked his usual sharpness in his comeback against Russia despite scoring a penalty. Their 3-1 defeat to the hosts ended any chance of reaching the second round.
Hector Cuper's side's limitations have been exposed in the two World Cup games. Egypt are overly reliant on the brilliance of Salah. Without him at his best, the team have lacked attacking quality and their defence also let them down against Russia. Pride is at stake in their final game and Egypt will be aiming to win their first match at a World Cup.
Tournament to forget for Saudis
Saudi Arabia produced the worst performance of the World Cup on the opening day after they were thrashed 5-0 by hosts Russia. It was a shocking display from Juan Antonio Pizzi's side as they capitulated. Their lack of organisation defensively was abysmal as they handed the Russians the perfect start.
After their drubbing, there were fears Saudi Arabia could be on the end of another hammering against Luis Suarez and co in the second game against Uruguay. But the team produced an improved showing as they were beaten 1-0. The loss confirmed their elimination and stretched their winless run in the World Cup to 12 games.
Big opportunity for Egypt to claim breakthrough win
Egypt are [1.9] favourites for their final group game but it has to be remembered the Pharaohs have never won a match at the World Cup. This represents a great chance to finally get off the mark, against poor opponents, but Egypt look short enough in this market considering their history in the competition and their current form.
Saudi Arabia are [4.8] outsiders for this game but they offer no appeal for the victory. Their goal threat looks minimal whereas at least Egypt can hope for some inspiration from Salah. Saudi Arabia look the worst team in the group and have offered no pointers to suggest they can end the tournament with a victory.
The draw is priced at around [3.65] and it would be no surprise if this ended in a stalemate. Both of these teams have struggled for goals which could point towards another draw. If it does end level, the chances are it will be a low-scoring clash which means 0-0 at [10.5] could be worth consideration.
Egypt have more ability in their side and it could be that one moment of quality from Salah is enough to settle this game. Saudi Arabia will struggle to trouble their opponents and there is value in backing Egypt to win with under 3.5 goals. Betfair's new Same Game Multi market enables you to combine bets with Salah to score in an Egypt victory on offer at [2.82].
Saudi Arabia have failed to score in nine of their 12 World Cup matches including both defeats this year. Egypt have also only managed to net once in their two matches and that came from the penalty spot. Six of Saudi Arabia's last eight games have seen one team fail to score while four of Egypt's last six matches have seen at least one side keep a clean sheet. With goals likely to be in short supply in this game, backing no in both teams to score at [1.94] is a confident bet.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster
Key Opta Stats for Saudi Arabia v Egypt
This is the first encounter between Saudi Arabia and Egypt at a tournament since the 1999 Confederations Cup – the Saudis won 5-1 thanks in part to four goals from Marzouk Al-Otaibi and Egypt receiving three red cards. Saudi Arabia are [4.8] to win.
Saudi Arabia have faced an African team in each of their four previous World Cup campaigns, never facing the same nation twice (W1 D2 L1). The draw is [3.65].
Each of the last eight goals Egypt have conceded in the World Cup have come in the second half of matches. The Egypt half-time/draw full-time double result is [14.5].
Egypt haven’t won any of their six World Cup matches (W0 D2 L4). The only nation to play more games in the competition without ever recording a victory are Honduras (nine games). Saudi Arabia are [2.08] to avoid defeat in the Double Chance market.
Defeat for either Saudi Arabia or Egypt in this game would see them be the first team to lose all three group games in this tournament, and the first to lose all three group games at a World Cup since Honduras in 2014. Egypt are [1.9] to inflict a third defeat upon Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia are yet to score a goal at the 2018 World Cup – there have only been 11 previous occasions of teams failing to score at a World Cup finals tournament in 3+ games, with Honduras and Algeria the last teams to do this in 2010. Under 2.5 goals is [1.8].
Saudi Arabia are now winless in their last 12 World Cup matches (W0 D2 L10) and they have lost their last four games in the competition without scoring a single goal. Egypt are [3.0] to win to nil.
Since joining Liverpool in July 2017, Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah has scored 49 goals in 57 appearances for club and country in all competitions. Salah is [2.0] to score.
Egypt’s Mohamed Salah scored with his only shot on target in a World Cup match in their defeat against Russia last time out. He's [4.0] to open the scoring.
World Cup P/L
Back Egypt to win and under 3.5 goals @ 7/5 (Sportsbook)
Back no for both teams to score at [1.94]