Bob Bradley’s time in charge of Egypt ends after World Cup “failure”

16 Comments

According to comments from the Egyptian FA, Bob Bradley is no longer the head coach of the Egyptian national team after his side failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Bradley’s contract expired following the unsuccessful World Cup campaign on Tuesday and word trickling through from Cairo is that the former U.S. national team head coach will no longer lead the Pharaohs.

Following a humiliating 6-1 first leg defeat to Ghana in the CAF World Cup playoff, Bradley knew his time in charge of the Pharaohs was all but over. Egypt’s 2-1 win over the Black Stars on Tuesday at least left the American coach with a win to close out his tenure in charge of Egypt but their 7-3 aggregate defeat has not been greeted kindly by the media or the Egyptian FA.

In initial World Cup qualifying, Egypt were the only side across the globe to win every single game. But when the tougher World Cup playoff rolled around, Bradley was paired with his old foes Ghana — who knocked his USMNT out of the World Cup in 2010 — and that shocking first leg display in Kumasi proved to be the downfall of the former Chicago Fire head coach.

Chairman of the Egyptian Football Association Gamal Allam confirmed Bradley’s contract had ended with Egypt.

“Bob Bradley’s contract ended this night, and we will not renew for him, we will start search for a new coach. I think Bradley will not accept to stay here following all the criticism from the media after the first match in Kumasi. We did not talk with him about staying and we will not do so. We won against Ghana but we did not qualify. We signed Bradley to take the team to the World Cup but he failed so we will search for new coach and we wish him good luck.”

It all seems to have ended a little bit sour but let’s not forget, Bradley has pretty much performed a miracle to even get his squad to the playoff stage and just a home and away series away from Egypt’s first World Cup appearance since 1990.

His leadership and strength of character has been sublime as the Egyptian nation has gone through radical changes since 2011 when he arrived on the scene. The Arab Spring, several uprisings and violent revolutions have marred his time in charge of Egypt as the country struggles with a vast outpouring of political and social unrest.

The Port Said massacre suspended the Egyptian professional soccer league and many of Bradley’s players were left without clubs to play for. The American coach performed his job without complaining and gave the Egyptian people belief that their side could go to the World Cup. He came up short. Just. And a new job in a new country awaits after he proved himself in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

You didn’t get Egypt to the World Cup Bob… but love for your coaching skills was rejuvenated amongst soccer fans across the USA.

What next for Bradley? Several MLS teams would love to have him in charge and I suspect he’s already had contact from the various clubs in the hunt for a new boss. But a position in Europe or with another ailing national team may suit him better.

One things’ for sure, after his sterling work for Egypt it won’t be long before Bradley’s back in a job.

I can guarantee that.

Barcelona defends Messi over “unfair” suspension

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says Lionel Messi’s four-match international suspension for insulting a linesman was “unfair and totally disproportionate.”

[ MORE: Messi handed ban by FIFA ]

Barcelona released a statement Wednesday expressing “its surprise and indignation” with FIFA’s decision to sideline the playmaker for so long following the incident in Argentina’s win over Chile in World Cup qualifying last week.

The punishment was announced before Argentina lost at Bolivia 2-0 Tuesday, a result that left the two-time champions at risk of not qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Barcelona says it “wishes to reiterate its support for Leo Messi, an exemplary player in terms of conduct both on and off the field.”

Pending an appeal, Messi will only be available to play in Argentina’s final qualifier, on Oct. 10 against Ecuador.

World Cup hopes back on track: What next for USMNT?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a four-point haul over the past week in their two crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers, the U.S. national team is back on track and heading in the right direction.

[ MORE: Latest USMNT news ]

Bruce Arena led the USMNT to a thumping 6-0 win over Honduras last Friday and then a gutsy 1-1 draw in Panama on Tuesday in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, as the Hexagonal standings will now look a lot better to U.S. fans who saw their team sitting bottom of the pile for the past four months following defeats to Mexico and Costa Rica which cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job.

So, the “Road to Russia” is looking a little less daunting for the U.S. but there are still tough tests ahead in the months to come in World Cup qualifying as well as a Gold Cup campaign on home soil in July.

First let’s look at the standings in the Hex. Ah, that’s better but things are now very tight aside from Mexico running away with things.

With six games to go the U.S. currently occupies the play-off spot as the top three teams in the Hex standings will qualify automatically for the World Cup and the fourth-place team has to play against the fifth-place team from qualifying in the Asian Football Confederation region.


Mexico — 10 points (+4 GD)
Costa Rica — 7 points (+4)
Panama — 5 points (0)
———————
USA — 4 points (+1)
———————
Honduras — 4 points (-5)
Trinidad and Tobago — 3 points (-4)


And these are the USA’s six remaining qualifiers as they aim to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

June 8: vs. Trinidad and Tobago
June 11: at Mexico
September 1: vs. Costa Rica
September 5: at Honduras
October 6: vs. Panama
October 10: at Trinidad and Tobago

The first three games at crucial. If the U.S. manages to get seven points from those three matches, that’s magical. Even six points by beating T&T and Costa Rica on home soil would be superb. Yet, if the U.S. drops points to one or both of T&T and Costa Rica, that puts so much pressure on themselves to pick up wins on the road at Honduras and T&T in two of their final three qualifiers. That would not be an ideal scenario.

Still, heading into the past week the aim for the U.S. was to get back on track in qualifying and give themselves a chance of making the 2018 World Cup. They’ve done that. Now, the hard work begins.

Chelsea chase Alexis Sanchez; Man United want Dier

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The summer transfer rumors are heating up long before the heat of summer arrives…

[ MORE: Zlatan to stay at United?

On Wednesday it is being claimed by the Guardian that Alexis Sanchez has become Chelsea’s “No.1 target this summer” as the Arsenal and Chile forward has yet to sign a new deal with the Gunners.

Per the report, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has drafted up a shortlist of the players he wants to sign this summer and Sanchez is at the top of the Italian managers wishlist as he is also close to signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

Sanchez, 28, has a deal at Arsenal until the summer of 2018 but if the north London club fails to agree a new deal with him this summer (as well as Mesut Ozil and Arsene Wenger, but that’s another story…) then they’ll have to sell him on or risk losing him for nothing as a free agent next season.

The striker scored twice for Chile in their 2018 World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela on Tuesday and has been essential all season long to Arsenal, scoring 18 goals and adding nine assists after playing through the middle on his own for much of the campaign.

Would Arsenal really sell Sanchez to a PL rival? It wouldn’t be ideal but it’s not like they haven’t done that in the past. Think of Robin Van Persie, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy.

The thought of Sanchez on one wing with Diego Costa up top and Eden Hazard on the other wing at Chelsea should be enough to get Arsenal to offer their star man whatever cash he wants — the report states he wants $310,000 a week which would almost double his current $160,000 a week salary — when they sit down to discuss the new deal at the end of this season.


Elsewhere in north London, Tottenham Hotspur’s versatile defender Eric Dier has been linked with a $50 million move to Manchester United this summer.

According to Neil Ashton of the Sun, Dier, 23, is being lined up to replace Michael Carrick in the holding midfield role at United.

Now, Tottenham are notoriously tough to do business with and chairman Daniel Levy will not want to lose one of his top prospects and an England international to a direct rival in the Premier League.

That said, Dier has been used in multiple positions by Spurs this season and Mauricio Pochettino appears to prefer Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele as the holding midfielders and the emergence of Harry Winks has seen Dier’s importance questioned by some.

The fact that Dier can play in holding midfield or anywhere across the back line will also suit Moruinho who likes to have a smaller squad to work with and per the report the Portuguese boss has been a long-time admirer of Dier. His power to break up the play and also use he ball safely could work very well alongside Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera.

PHOTOS: Bizarre Cristiano Ronaldo statue unveiled

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Hang on, is that really meant to be Cristiano Ronaldo?

On Wednesday the Portugal and Real Madrid legend had Madeira Airport named after him just outside his hometown of Funchal and during the ceremony a bust of his head was put on show.

Except, it looked horrendous…

Take a look for yourself in the photos below. See.