Bob Bradley’s Egypt on Monday drew Ghana -- the team that eliminated his USA squad from the last World Cup in the Round of 16 in 2010 -- in Africa’s decisive final round of playoffs that determines which countries qualify for Brazil 2014. The teams will meet twice in a home-and-away series, with the first leg to be played between October 11-15 and the second leg to be held one month later, with the winner qualifying for next summer’s finals.
"We are the strongest team in the group. We are not afraid of confronting Ghana,” Bradley said at the draw. And the former U.S. coach has a reason to be confident: Egypt currently has the best record of any nation in World Cup qualifying, having won each of its games en route to the final playoff. And it has achieved this amid a backdrop of violent political unrest at home. However, despite being a record seven-time African champion, Egypt hasn’t qualified for the World Cup since Italy 1990.
The other playoff match-ups see top-ranked Ivory Coast paired with Senegal, African champion Nigeria paired with Ethiopia, African Cup runner-up Burkina Faso paired with Algeria, and Tunisia, which only qualified after Cape Verde forfeited three points for fielding an ineligible player, paired with Cameroon.