Egypt suffered a blow on 20 June on the eve of their FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 clash with the United States after the ruling out through injury of star striker Mohamed Zidan.
The Borussia Dortmund forward will be sidelined against the USA after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he picked up in Egypt's shock 1-0 win over world champions Italy in Johannesburg on 18 June.
Zidan, who scored twice in Egypt's 4-3 loss to Brazil in their opening Group B game, had to be taken off in the second half.
Confirming the player's absence from 21 June's crucial encounter with the CONCACAF Gold Cup winners, coach Hassan Shehata's assistant Shawky Gharib told Egyptian television: "Zidan will not be able to play against the US.
"The hamstring injury he sustained against Italy is not serious, but it will prevent him from taking part in Sunday's match."
Gharib had better news for followers of the CAF African Cup of Nations holders concerning Ahmed Fathi and Sayed Moawad, the full-backs who also suffered injuries in their successful efforts to contain the Azzurri and give Egypt a very real chance of qualifying for the semi-finals at South Africa 2009.
"Fathi trained with us today, he has no problems," Gharib said. "The medical team told us Moawad was 95 per cent certain to recover in time for the match."
Having turned up under something of a cloud after toiling in qualifying for next year's FIFA World Cup™, Egypt have emerged as the surprise packages in South Africa.
The African champions have confounded the doubters with inspired performances against Brazil and Italy, with Mohamed Homos' first-half goal against the world champions at Ellis Park on Thursday blowing Group B wide open.
A win over the underperforming United States will put Egypt on six points and into the last four if Italy fail to beat defending champions Brazil. Victory for the Italians would put all three teams level, with goal difference the deciding factor.