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World Cup: Egypt-Uruguay, Morocco-Iran, Portugal-Spain matches ready to kick off Friday

GROUP A

EGYPT VS. URUGUAY

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Where: Yekaterinburg

Time: 5 a.m. PDT.

TV: FS1, Telemundo.

The buzz: The major question hanging over this match is the health of Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah, who sustained a shoulder injury in last month’s Champions League final. His availability likely won’t be announced until game time. If he’s unable to go, Egypt, playing its first World Cup match in 28 years, will be seriously short-handed against a powerful Uruguayan team led by Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin.

GROUP B

MOROCCO VS. IRAN

Where: Saint Petersburg.

Time: 8 a.m. PDT.

TV: Fox, Telemundo.

The buzz: Although Morocco hasn’t lost in more than a year, its success is in question because just two of those games were against World Cup teams. A talented roster and an experienced coach in French-born Herve Renard could fuel an extended World Cup run, but a stumble in its opener would likely end that hope. Iran has lost two of its last five friendlies and in four previous World Cup tournaments has never gotten past the first round, winning just one game.

PORTUGAL VS. SPAIN

Where: Sochi.

Time: 11 a.m. PDT.

TV: Fox, Telemundo.

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The buzz: Spain will be playing its first game in nearly two years without coach Julen Lopetegui, who was fired Wednesday, hours before the World Cup kicked off. He was replaced by Fernando Hierro, the team’s former sporting director whose only managing experience came in Spain’s second division. Friday he’ll make his national team coaching debut, going against Cristiano Ronaldo and the reigning European champions.

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