Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov has pledged to leave Mohamed Salah shackled when the World Cup hosts take on Egypt in St Petersburg on Tuesday.
Talk of Salah dominated Cherchesov's pre-match media briefing at Krestovsky Stadium, with the Liverpool star having been declared fit to return from the shoulder injury he sustained during last month's 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
The Egyptian Football Association similarly declared Salah was ready to take on Uruguay in their opening 1-0 Group A defeat but experienced boss Hector Cuper opted not to risk his prized asset.
Salah, 26, tore Premier League and Champions League defences apart during a stunning debut season at Anfield that yielded 44 goals, but Stanislav is confident he has the remedy as his team look to build upon an emphatic 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
"What can I say? I trust in my team," he said. "I believe in my players and I will give you a simple answer.
"We are ready to do this and we will do this."
Cherchesov dismissed the notion that roughhouse tactics would come into play and defended Madrid captain Sergio Ramos against an accusation that he purposely caused Salah's injury.
"Is someone going to behave as Ramos behaved? I don't understand the question," he replied.
"I saw that he was holding the cup of the Champions League and tomorrow there will be no cup.
"I believe that Ramos did not do this on purpose. This is a contact sport and, as I understand, no one injures people from other teams on purpose."
The man charged with thwarting Salah as Russia's last line of defence is goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev.
The CSKA Moscow man bristled at persistent references to Salah as he sat alongside his coach.
"First of all I will tell you about my team," he said. "I believe we should pay more attention to the Russian team. We have our own tasks, our own missions and so on.
"We know there will not be mannequins against us. These will be living beings. It is not only Mo Salah who will be playing against us. They have another 20-plus players. We will see what will happen."
Asked whether he was looking forward to playing against Salah, Akinfeev snapped back: "I don't even know how to start preparing how to respond to your question, frankly.
"I would prefer that my team win tomorrow, that's my response."
The winning feeling deserted Russia during their preparations – something a comparatively jovial Cherchesov made light of when their dismal run of friendly form was brought up.
"Hey - no, no! We're not talking about the seven games [without a win]," he said.
"We have won one game already here at the World Cup, so what is the next question?"
Soon enough, it will be Salah posing them.
|Man City not Champions League favourites, insists Bernardo Silva|
|Isco calls for Modric to win Ballon d´Or after Champions League win|
|Wawrinka into last eight in St Petersburg|
|Goal hero Pogba is one of the best in the world - Shaw|
|Sane SOS can´t salvage sorry City display|
|Hoffenheim will learn lessons from Shakhtar draw, insists Nagelsmann|
|Valencia 0 Juventus 2: Pjanic hits the spot after Ronaldo sees red|
|Viktoria Plzen 2 CSKA Moscow 2: Krmencik heroics undone by late show|
|Benfica 0 Bayern Munich 2: Sanches returns to haunt his former club|
|Young Boys 0 Manchester United 3: Pogba double inspires Red Devils|
|Manchester City 1 Lyon 2: Cornet and Fekir stun Champions League favourites at home|
|Real Madrid 3 Roma 0: Isco stunner sets up winning start for Champions League holders|
|Ronaldo sent off on Champions League debut for Juve and may miss United reunion|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Hoffenheim 2: Maycon denies Nagelsmann´s side|
|Ajax 3 AEK Athens 0: Tagliafico at the double in opening win|
|Dalot makes debut, Martial starts for Manchester United|
|India avenge ICC Champions Trophy loss with big win over Pakistan|
|Ronaldo makes Champions League debut for Juve|
|Lopetegui picks Navas over Courtois for Champions League clash with Roma|
|Willian very happy under Sarri after Conte row|
|Sarri deals blow to Chelsea kids´ Europa League hopes|
|Mendy out for Manchester City as Aguero makes bench|
|Cech accepts performances key to securing Arsenal stay|
|Monchi rules out Spain return amid Barcelona rumours|
|Durham skittled for 61 and 66 on the same day|
|Kane isn´t a machine – Lamela defends misfiring Spurs star|
|Hazard left out of Chelsea squad for PAOK trip|
|Tiger feels close to ending drought after achieving Tour Championship goal|
|Leno in line for Arsenal chance in Europa League|
|Gazidis leaves Arsenal in good shape, insists Emery|
|Eagles bring back WR Matthews, place Wallace on IR|
|England include Stokes, Hales and uncapped seamer Stone in ODI squad|
|Suwon Bluewings 0 Jeonbuk Motors 3 (aet, 4-2 on penalties): Quarter-final comeback ends in spot-kick|
|Australia captain Paine ready to slog it out with Pakistan|
|Nadal pulls out of China Open & Shanghai Masters with knee injury|
|Ostapenko begins Korea Open defence with victory|
|Joshua v Povetkin: How Olympic super heavyweight champions have fared|
|Liverpool ´made a point´ with PSG victory - Gomez|
|Osaka wows Tokyo crowd on WTA return|
|Excited Povetkin arrives in England for Joshua showdown|
|Kovac patience with Sanches set to reap rewards|
|Kovac: Madrid strong without Ronaldo, Messi is the best|
|ATP suspends umpire Lahyani over Kyrgios ´pep talk´ at US Open|
|North and South Korea seek to co-host 2032 Olympics|
|Ampadu signs long-term Chelsea contract|
|Don´t blame Neymar, PSG players all guilty - Thiago Silva|
|Real Madrid seek to plug Ronaldo scoring gap – Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Brewers allow Cardinals to inch closer with loss to Reds|
|Manchester is still red – Depay ahead of Lyon´s clash with City|
|Orioles become first pro team to wear braille jerseys|
|Klopp hails ´brilliant´ Henderson|
|PSG attack lacked aggression, says Tuchel|
|Atletico Tucuman 0 Gremio 2: Libertadores holders draw first blood in QFs|
|Thomas plays down wrist worry|
|Rakitic wants more from Barcelona hat-trick hero Messi|
|My players aren´t s*** – Pochettino defends Spurs squad|
|Cubs reliever Morrow won´t return this season|
|Tebow expected to be back in Mets organisation next season|
|Inter can compete against anyone – Icardi revels in Champions League victory|
|Tuchel: PSG loss to Liverpool not logical or correct|
|Sturridge in best shape I´ve seen – Klopp|
|Milojevic celebrates ´fantastic´ occasion after Red Star´s 26-year wait|
|Rodrigo and Simeone salute Griezmann display|
|Seahawks DE Clark on Bears QB Trubisky: He´s nothing special|
|Carroll says Wilson has been ´over-trying a little bit´|
|Judge returns to Yankees´ starting lineup|
|Napoli boss Ancelotti takes aim at Red Star time wasting|
|Favre admits young Dortmund stars struggled in Bruges|
|Otavio would trade goal for Porto victory as he bemoans Schalke draw|
|Championship Review: Pacesetters Leeds crush Preston, Villa end five-game winless run|