Fans give Egypt's Pharaohs a warm send-off ahead of WCup

Egyptian national soccer team player and Liverpool's star striker Mohammed Salah, right, shares a laugh with goalkeeper Essam El Hadary during Egypt's final practice for the World Cup soccer tournament, at Cairo Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Thousands of fans gathered at Cairo's main stadium Saturday to watch Egypt's last home practice before flying to Grozny, Chechnya, where they'll set up base during their World Cup campaign in Russia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

About 2,000 fans gather at Cairo's main stadium to watch Egypt's last home practice before the Pharaohs fly to their World Cup base in Grozny, Chechnya

CAIRO — About 2,000 fans gathered at Cairo's main stadium on Saturday to watch Egypt's last home practice before the Pharaohs fly to their World Cup base in Grozny, Chechnya.

Egypt also unveiled its mascot, a green "Nile Crocodile" in a red Egypt jersey, white shorts and a yellow-and-black pharaonic head cover.

Qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990, Egypt opens its campaign against Uruguay on Friday. Host team Russia and Saudi Arabia are also in the group.

Star striker Mohamed Salah, still recovering from a right shoulder injury sustained during the Champions League final last month, suited up for the celebrations but did not train with the squad. He spent about 45 minutes walking around the pitch, waving to the fans and posing for selfies with admirers. He left the stadium under heavy security.

With six days left to the Uruguay match, it is not certain whether Salah, the English Premier League top-scorer with 32 in his first season with Liverpool, will be fit to play. He has not spoken to the media since he flew home on Wednesday from Spain, where he received treatment for his injury.

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