Bob Bradley took charge of the Egyptian national side for the first time on Monday, watching his team fall 2-0 to a Brazil side that barely got out of second gear at the Ahmed Bin Ali stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Bradley – who was relieved of his duties by the US national team as head coach on July 28 after losing to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final – started his reign in charge with a conservative 4-4-2 formation. But the Pharaohs were on the back foot from the beginning as Brazil took the game to the North Africans, who rarely threatened in the first half.
FC Porto striker Hulk dazzled and was by far the most dangerous player on show, terrorizing Egypt’s defenders at will. The powerful Brazilian winger set up the first strike as he smashed the ball across the goal and Valencia striker Jonas, on his debut, tapped in after 39 minutes. In the 59th minute Jonas got his second with another simple finish, to mark his first appearance for his country in style and seal the 2-0 win.
Bradley's side was hurt by a less than inspiring outing from young goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shenawi. The 20-year-old keeper dropped the ball from a free kick on Jonas' second goal and he arguably should have also done more to stop Hulk’s cross for the first as he allowed the ball to travel across the six-yard box unopposed.
However, Egypt had some chances in the second half and were buoyed by Bradley's halftime substitution as defensive midfielder Ibrahim Salah replaced former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Hossam Ghaly. Salah sat in and performed well in a position that was always a source of criticism for Bradley back home with his inclination of lining up two defensive midfielders, including his son Michael Bradley.
Despite the disappointing result Bradley still had room for sentiment, as he sent on Zamalek SC’s Ahmed Hassan for a late cameo. With that appearance the 36-year-old attacker became the most capped player in international soccer history, with 179 caps to his name.
The former US manager made a plethora of other substitutions late on, as he starts to gets a feel for his new squad. It seems he’ll have to learn quick as he tries to rebuild Egypt into the side that was ranked as high as No. 9 in the FIFA World rankings a year ago.