Mohamed Salah was forced to watch on from the sidelines as Egypt suffered late heartbreak against Uruguay on Friday.
It looked as if the script was being prepared for Salah to come on and bag a late winner before Jose Giminez delivered a fatal blow by heading in an 88th-minute winner.
Egypt boss Hector Cuper spoke bullishly about Salah’s chances of featuring in the game this week but opted against taking the risk amid reservations over his fitness.
Salah, who turned 26 on Friday, instead had to remain his seat and watch his side crumble to a late defeat.
The 26-year-old forward had participated in full training with the Egypt squad for the first time since sustaining an injury to his shoulder in the Champions League final against Real Madrid just over a fortnight ago.
His participation in the showpiece tournament in Russia was thrown into doubt when he tangled with Sergio Ramos and landed heavily on his shoulder, but has since made a miraculous recovery to be in contention of featuring.
He was pictured undergoing shoulder exercises in a bid to strengthen it before Egypt’s opening game, but is clearly still not fit enough.
Egypt now face an uphill task of getting out of the group and will most likely have to call on Salah for their next game against tournament hosts Russia next Tuesday.