After being seeded in Pot 2 for the final round of CAF World Cup qualifying, Egyptian national team manager Bob Bradley knew his side would face strong opposition in the last hurdle to get to Brazil.
But the former U.S. national team manager was handed an extremely tough draw as the Pharaohs face Ghana in a home and away playoff series to play out in October and November.
The winner will make the 2014 World Cup and the loser…. well, that doesn’t bear thinking about.
Bradley’s men won all six of their group stage games, the only nation in the world to have gone through their qualifying group with a 100 percent record. Yet due to their FIFA World Ranking, 50, they were placed outside the top seeds for the playoff draw and now face one of Africa’s strongest teams in a duel that will result in either Ghana or Egypt heading to Brazil 2014.
During his time in charge of the USMNT, Bradley’s men were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup by the Black Stars in the last 16 in South Africa. Ghana will prove a massive test for the Egyptians.
However Egypt do have the advantage of playing away from home in the first leg against Ghana between October 11-15 and then hosting the Black Stars between November 15-19 to decide their World Cup fate in front of their home fans.
Elsewhere, two other huge matchups were drawn out as the Ivory Coast will face Senegal and Tunisia square off with Cameroon for a spot at the World Cup. Rounding off the draw surprise package Ethiopia play Nigeria and Burkina Faso clash with Algeria.
All first legs will be played between October 11-15 and the second legs will take place on a date to be arranged between November 15-19.
Here is the CAF World Cup playoff round draw in full:
Ivory Coast v Senegal
Ethiopia v Nigeria
Tunisia v Cameroon
Ghana v Egypt
Burkina Faso v Algeria
Liverpool’s disappointing result in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final can be chalked up to many factors, but all anyone will ever remember is Loris Karius‘ performance… and the goalkeeper knows it.
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Karius issued this series of tweets on Sunday, declaring his disappointment from the team’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, as well as an apology to the supporters and his entire club.
Of the two errors Karius made, the Real Madrid equalizer from Karim Benzema was certainly the more glaring.
After receiving the ball on a routine grab, Karius rushed his distribution from goal while Benzema read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the throw to get a foot on the ball.
The ball then deflected into the back of the Liverpool net, and changed the complexion of the match drastically.
While Karius’ mistakes cannot, and won’t, go unnoticed, the Reds were still reeling from Mohamed Salah‘s gruesome shoulder injury in the first half — which leaves the Egypt international’s availability uncertain for the summer’s World Cup in Russia.
After one season down in League One, the Millers are returning to the Sky Bet Championship in 2018/19.
[ MORE: Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener ]
Rotherham United defeated Shrewsbury Town, 2-1, in extra time on Sunday at Wembley Stadium to reach the Championship.
Regulation wasn’t enough to decide the League One playoff final, but Richard Wood brace ensured his side, Rotherham, would reach the English second division ahead of the 2018/19 season.
Wood did superbly to volley home his squad’s second goal in the first half of extra time, after a brilliant Joe Newell set piece curled into the path of the defender.
Shrewsbury equalized around the hour mark when Alex Rodman calmly placed the ball beyond goalkeeper Marek Rodak from close ranger after a perfectly-executed set piece that caught the Millers off guard.
The first half went largely in favor Rotherham though, having taken the lead in the 32nd minute through Wood’s header to the bottom left corner.
The lead should have been larger though heading into halftime, but David Ball’s early penalty kick was saved by Shrews keeper Dean Henderson in the ninth minute to keep the match scoreless at the time.
Pro Soccer Talk takes a glance at some of the biggest transfer rumors on Sunday…
[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real to third straight UCL title ]
We start in Manchester, where the Red Devils are reportedly interested in raiding their cross-town rivals for a back-up goalkeeper.
Man United is said to have interest in Manchester City’s Joe Hart, who missed out on being called up to England for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Hart has spent the last two seasons on loan from the Citizens, spending 2016/17 in Serie A with Torino and this past season with West Ham United.
Sticking with United, the Red Devils are preparing a new contract for Anthony Martial, according to the Sun.
Martial has become a regular for United since joining from Monaco in 2015, scoring 36 goals in all competitions.
Finally, Danny Rose could be making a Merseyside move if Everton has it their way.
The Toffees are eyeing up the Tottenham left back, although Manchester United has also expressed its interest in the England international.
Rose missed a significant portion of the 2017/18 season due to a knee injury, and the 27-year-old could be on the move this summer despite spending the last 11 seasons in London with Spurs.
It took a late finish to nab three points on Sunday, but England’s title defence at the Toulon Tournament is off an running.
[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid past Liverpool ]
The Three Lions’ Under-21 squad picked up a 2-1 win in their Group A opener against China, after having fallen behind to the Asian nation inside the opening half hour.
England, winners of the last two editions of the competition, conceded in the 20th minute to Yan Dinghao, and went into the halftime break behind 1-0.
Manager Paul Simpson and his side came out strong in the second stanza, though, and found an equalizer five minutes in through Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry‘s header.
It seemed as though England would be destined for a point, however, Tammy Abraham‘s tap-in finish in the 85th minute ensured a crucial victory to open the tournament for the Three Lions.
England will round out Group A with matches against Mexico and Qatar on March 28 and June 1, respectively.
At the Toulon Tournament, the three group winners automatically reach the semifinals, while the best second-place nation also receives a bid into the final four.