By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Through ongoing political strife and a year without a domestic league, Egypt is now remarkably one step closer to a spot in Brazil for next summer’s World Cup.
The Pharaohs, led by former USMNT coach Bob Bradley, sealed the top spot in Group G of the African federation on Sunday with a 1-0 road win over Mozambique. The victory pushed Egypt eight points clear of Guinea with one match left to play.
Egypt, who has not been to the World Cup since 1990, grabbed the lone goal of the match in the 42nd minute. Just one week after his hat trick against Zimbabwe and one day after his 21st birthday, FC Basel man Mohamed Salah found the back of the net for the visitors, who have won all five of their group stage matches.
It has been an unbelievable qualifying journey for Bradley and the Pharaohs. After the Port Said stadium tragedy in February 2012, the government placed a ban on all domestic competition that was not lifted until February of this year. Eighteen of the 25 team members are currently under contract in Egypt’s domestic league.
The seven-time African champions will now prepare for a two-leg series in October and November against one of the other nine group winners. The final five matchups, which will be drawn on September 16, will determine the continent’s five representatives for Brazil 2014.
The lack of a domestic league has helped/will help the team.
The only football they can play is with each other in training. Their play is organized and fluid. I think they will qualify and show well.
I was actually so defiant about this. Much was made during Senior Bradley’s tenure as a USMNT coach that there was a lack of style and how our play lacked an identity, whereas others felt there was an identity, but it happened to be one folks weren’t terribly excited about (this in spite of how much excitement folks experienced following the team in 2010). I am wondering, does Egypt have the same “problem” now, are they lacking a style? I do not mean to imply that I think Bradley should still be coaching the US, I just think examining how the Egyptian team is set up would give us a lot of insight into what was and is a burning question in many minds.
*was wondering, not so defiant
a little math work reveals that the final round of qualifying in concacaf sees three out of six teams going to the world cup, and from Africa it is five out of ten. concacaf does get the bump forth seed playoff. and half the teams advance from the second round to the hex, and in Africa it is one out of four teams who advance from their second round. but if you are a seeded team in Africa, your path to the world cup is not so arduous.
I’m Egyptian and I’ve been wondering about the same things from an Egyptian perspective. Namely, the differences and/or similarities between Bob’s tactics with the US team and with the Egyptian team. From what I’ve been hearing from US soccer fans on the way Bob played in the US, I gather there are huge differences in “style”. I would love to chat with you about that… If you want to, please message me on my facebook. My homepage is www [dot] facebook [dot] com [slash] andrew.sidhom
That probably did have an impact last year, yeah. They are 15 matches into their 2012-2013 season though so they are back to having club responsibilities since February.
Man, CAF World Cup Qualifying is brutal. We get off SO easy in CONCACAF.
Good for Bob, I hope they make it in. I just don’t want them in our group…somehow though I feel it is inevitable.
Africa. The hardest continent to qualify from…
With 54 teams battling for 5 spots … and with a limited FIFA International calendar available, you ain’t kidding. I had thought CONCACAF’s qualifying system (with 35 teams chasing 3-4 spots) was wacky. That said, it’s awfully cruel to possibly have to tell the region’s #6 team that they have to knock off the region’s #1 team in a home-and-home playoff in order to get a WC bid.
Africa’s qualifying format is brutal. No wonder they havent qualified in so long . Best of luck to Bradley and egypt.
Bob Bradley is a true badass. He must have balls of steel.
Bob Bradley is probably doing more for the US soccer now than the US national team can possibly do short of making it to the WC semifinal.
Bob Bradley is probably doing more for the US image in the Middle East than any politician or celebrity EVER. Bob for Prez in 2016!
This. All the aid money in the world can’t do for America’s image what Bob Bradley is doing right now.
I like this playoff scenario. It’s “Win or stay home.” This should make for some EPIC football.
They are very epic. The games especially the 2nd leg could all easily be Hollywood Blockbusters on their drama alone. Especially with the story lines & teams punching above their weight.
BB is class.
Having a two leg playoff to determine five different spots seems ridiculous to me, but what do I know? It seems incredibly cruel if you get a poor seed, like if Ghana and Ivory Coast only get one spot between the two of them. It is even worse if it is based off of flawed FIFA rankings instead of something measurable.
My thoughts exactly
How is the draw done for the last round of qualifying? That obviously will have a huge effect on Egpyt’s chances. I’m really rooting for Bradley to pull it off.
They seed the top 5 teams so they dont play each other. Right now it looks to be Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria if they qualify or Libya (Ghana if they qualify…if they dont then another team)
BUT it is based on the September rankings so after all this is said and done egypt may be high enough to be ranked but the odds are very very slim.
So that means one of those teams will be their opponent.
If Egypt can win their final game and one of the other group leaders falters, egypt will have a nice block of 45 FIFA points to bolster their standing with.
They only need a net +8 FIFA points more than Libya.
I don’t see Libya making it. I think Cameroon gets them for that spot. I hope I am wrong, but I wouldn’t bet on Egypt getting in, but damn sure I’ll be rooting like hell for it to happen.
I guess it really was important for Egypt to qualify for the African Nations Cup.
OR, they can seed them according to their group qualifying round. Egypt would be ranked high as they have won all their games. This makes sense, but far be it for FIFA or CAF to exhibit any sense. Remember this is the federation who told Togo, they would have no problems going to a CAF tournament. (as a result of bad info they were attacked by a rebel group out of the Congo and several coaches and players were killed.)
I just have this feeling if they make it we’ll be drawn in the same group…that would be quite a storyline.
You just know that’s how it will go down.
Other than Bora M, are there very many other coaches who have led multiple nations (assuming he leads Egypt there) to the World Cup?
Hiddink and Scolari jump to mind
Carlos Alberto Parreira – Kuwait 1982, UAE 1990, Brazil 1994, Saudi Arabia 1998, Brazil 2006, South Africa 2010
Big Phil Scolari – Brazil 2002, Portugal 2006, Brazil 2014
Guus Hiddink – Netherlands 1998, South Korea 2002, Australia 2006
Sven-Goran Eriksson – England 2002 and 2006, Ivory Coast 2010 (although they had already qualified when he was hired)
Roy Hodgson – Switzerland 1994, England 2014?
These are the ones I could find in 20 minutes.
Congratulations to Egypt and Coach Bradley on reaching the final qualifying round.. The biggest challenge awaits, but, regardless of the outcome, we are proud of you, Bob.