Egyptian football fans were distraught Tuesday as Ghana rudely shattered their dreams of a World Cup place to take their minds off months of political violence.
Mathematically, with a second leg still to play at home next month, Egypt could still make it to the finals in Brazil next year. But after losing 6-1 away, the fans knew that qualification was all but unreachable, a defeat all the harder to take as it came on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Coach Bob Bradley said Egypt's dream of reaching the World Cup is almost out of sight after a 6-1 loss to Ghana.
"Our dream of qualifying for the World Cup has become nearly impossible," Bob Bradley said in the post-match news conference.
"But we still have a chance in the second leg. I will try to work on the players," he briefly added.
The American Coach apologized to the Egyptian people, saying he takes responsibility for the heavy defeat.
"I apologize to the Egyptian people for Tuesday's loss. I know that reaching the World Cup is the dream of all Egyptians, and I failed to realize that dream."
Bradley said his men were all out of form during Tuesday's clash.
"I tried to mix young and experienced players, but we committed a lot of mistakes during the game. It was not our day."
"I sought a recovery in the second half but the players' mistakes were numerous," he added.
The second leg of the playoff is to be played in Cairo on November 19. However, all but the most die-hard of Egypt fans now accept that only a miracle will see them progress.