Thursday Kickoff: Egypt won’t fire Bradley; Casillas wants to remain at Real Madrid; and more

BobBradleyEgypt1 (AFP_Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Following a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Ghana, many people in Egypt called for national team head coach Bob Bradley to be fired as soon as possible.

However, the Egyptian FA has decided to keep Bradley on as coach for the second leg at home against Ghana, even though it’s looking very likely that Egypt’s dream of returning to the World Cup for the first time since 1990 is over. Despite going undefeated in the second round of African World Cup qualifying, Egypt were handed a tough draw against Ghana and couldn’t stand up to the test on Tuesday.

“It is not logical to sack him [Bradley] and pay a big fine for the last match of his contract,” Egyptian FA President Gamal Allam told BBC Sport.

That fine is reported to be $366,000 if he is released of his duties before the end of his contract, which likely is either in December or after the World Cup next summer.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

CASILLAS ANNOUNCES INTENT TO STAY AT REAL MADRID

Spain and Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas has faced a difficult period in his playing career in the last ten months, with his club starting position seemingly gone.

Both Jose Mourinho and current Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti have preferred Diego Lopez to start in La Liga every week at goalkeeper, with Casillas only starting in UEFA Champions League games or other mid-week matches. However, Casillas isn’t interested in leaving the only club he knows for more playing time.

Of course I’d like to play but you need to respect the coach, it’s his decision,” Casillas told Spanish publication Diario AS. “A player, from a selfish point of view, will always want to play, but a good professional accepts it. I’d like to be at Real Madrid forever because it’s what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was kid. What I need to do is train harder so I can play.”

WENGER ADMITS THAT VAN PERSIE SALE CAUSED PROBLEMS

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted on Thursday at Arsenal’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) that there was unrest 12 months ago in the wake of the sale of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United.

The London club sold the Dutch striker after a season when he scored 30 goals in the Premier League, but after taking some time for Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski, and Olivier Giroud to gel into the squad, Arsenal played much better in the second half of the season.

“We lost Van Persie, created a lot of unrest and destabilized the team,” Wenger said, transcribed by The Telegraph. “But from November to May team showed fantastic mental strength.

“From the end of March to today, we have lost just one match, that created a huge emotion.”

Wenger reiterated again that with Arsenal’s improved financial position, they can afford to sign more high-profile and major-money signings like Mesut Özil this summer.

“We will also look to buy proven quality – we did not need to scout to buy Özil, it was just money,” Wenger said. “I am pleased we have shown you we are not afraid to spend.”

QUICK KICKS

Switzerland National Team manager Ottmar Hitzfeld announced on Thursday that he’s retiring from coaching after the World Cup next summer. (REPORT)

England will announce late this week that they will finish their 2013 schedule with a friendly match at Wembley Stadium against Germany on November 19. (REPORT)

Galatasaray President Unal Aysal has denied the possibility of midfielder Wesley Sneijder rejoining his former coach Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. (REPORT)

UEFA have announced that “Le Rendez-Vous” will be the official slogan of UEFA Euro 2016. (REPORT)

AC Milan are interested in acquiring left back Jordan Lukaku, the brother of on-loan Everton forward Romelu Lukaku. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Did you expect Bradley to be sacked? Do you see Casillas regaining his starting place at Real Madrid? Do you agree with Wenger’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.

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15 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Egypt won’t fire Bradley; Casillas wants to remain at Real Madrid; and more

  1. THomas says:

    That’s why CAF qualifying is so difficult. You go undefeated, have one bad (terrible) game, and you’re out. I think the CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, Asia have the best methods for sending their best representatives to the World Cup.

  2. wfrw07 says:

    Not sure why Africa doesn’t use Asia’s setup to determine their WC teams. They might need to add one more early round of H2Hs to get the number of teams down, but no reason their last 10 or so teams shouldn’t have a group stage.

    • AcidBurn says:

      I believe the answer to this is $$$$. Not enough resources to put on more qualification games than the existing format.

  3. Beckster says:

    In another Thursday morning news item, Will Packwood has been loaned out for a month to the Bristol Rovers. Great news in his continuing recovery from his horrific leg injury. Hopefully he will be playing on Saturday.

  4. blokhin says:

    is there a lower form of compliment for a coach than ‘we’d fire him, but it would cost a lot”? really sucks how this whole situation shook out for Bradley…

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I took it the other way, we will fulfill the contract because it is more expensive to run out the deal than to just cut him loose. That is not a vote of confidence.

  5. The Imperative Voice says:

    Egypt is like the Canada of CAF. Canada has won 2 Gold Cups and made 4 regional semis. But they have only qualified for the World Cup once, 27 years ago (86). Egypt has won 7 ACNs including 06, 08 (why they were in Confed Cup when we met), and 10, plus a runnerup and several semis. But they have two trips to the Big Dance and the last was 90.

    I think the criticisms of the CAF qualifying formula are more general useful than strictly provable. Egypt qualified out of a soft group like we did and then got trounced in the opening leg agains a high level team. They fit somewhere in between, but are they one of Africa’s 5 best? Who knows. But a more round robin setup at the end would more likely produce the best teams as opposed to those who receive nice draws. I’m sure Ghana still makes it but Egypt would have their shot too.

    Far as the rest goes, it’s a results business, he just got clobbered, and that kind of flop at Gold Cup lost him the previous job. It’s not necessarily fair. It’s hard to separate out a decent CAF team already from what Bradley added in the situation. You’d think that would have given him some leeway but he didn’t get any slack from World Cup success to Gold Cup stutter when the team was stumbling and then lost to Panama and Mexico.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Agreed. Although it should be noted that Canada has only won one Gold Cup (2000).

      • LL92 says:

        Correct. Canada has only won 1 Gold Cup. But they have also won 1 CONCACAF Championship in 1985. That was the tournament before the Gold Cup. He may have lumped the two together.

  6. k says:

    why was Casillas dropped from the line-up to begin with? Problems with Mourinho and now the new manager? He’s still 1 of the top 10 best GKs in the world. a year ago he was arguably top 3

  7. dude says:

    Why would they fire Bob Bradley anyway? Forget the fine. That loss had nothing to do with Bradley’s lineup, strategy, or defensive plan. The Egyptian players just couldn’t match Ghana’s raw power at any position. They showed cohesion and had some good passing sequences, but every time Ghana got the ball, it was a nightmare. Ghana’s midfield was way better, their forwards were too strong and too fast for the slight Egyptian defense. The man gave you a shot at the World Cup. You got the worst draw imaginable. Let him see out his contract without the histrionics.

    • Jim says:

      Listen, I’ll give props all day to BB for gutting it out and keeping that team together through incredibly difficult circumstances. But this idea that he “gave” them a shot at the World Cup is misleading.

      Yes, he went undefeated in group play. But it was an incredibly easy group. And the reason they drew Ghana in the knockout stage has a lot to do with their failure last year to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. They lacked competitve results, fell in the rankings, and weren’t seeded for the draw. This stuff happens.

      He showed that he has the chops to get another chance after this. But he won’t be the first (or last) manager to be out the door because of one embarrassing result.

  8. Patrick says:

    Oh oh. Does this portend a Round of 16 show down USMNT versus Ghana…say at the Maracanã in Rio? These things come in Trilogies.