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Brazil Beats US Soccer Team at Confederations Cup


Brazil made it to the semifinals at the Confederations Cup football tournament in South Africa after a 3-0 victory over the U.S. Soccer team. Our correspondent was at Thursday's match in Pretoria and has a report.

For the third time in their last four international games, the Americans gave up an early goal. That's not the kind of advantage you want to give a team like Brazil.

Felipe Melo scored on a header in the seventh minute off a free kick from the top right corner of the box from Maicon, who was named "Man of the Match".

Brazil surged ahead 2-0 in the 20th minute as a result of a turnover by DaMarcus Beasley off a U.S. corner kick. Ramires sprinted down field with the ball and crossed it to Robinho who had an easy finish.

Things got worse for the U.S. in the 57th minute when midfielder Sacha Kljestan was sent off for a sliding tackle, leaving the Americans shorthanded the rest of the way.

Maicon scored Brazil's third and final goal in the 62nd minute.

Brazilian coach Dunga said he was pleased with his team's performance.

"The way that we played today, we were very well spaced over the field in a proper alignment against the U.S. team," he said. "We were able to pressure the ball. We played quickly and collectively; we played a very Brazilian style."

U.S. coach Bob Bradley put his team's defeat in perspective.

"We had a very nervous, tentative start to the game," he said. "An early goal off the set piece really put us in a difficult situation right from the start. Brazil is a difficult team to play against - always. But when you go down early and you follow that up with a bad play where we have a corner and obviously lose a difficult ball, and they put a counter together, you've really created as hard a situation as you could have."

The U.S. soccer team's draw for its first two matches at this Confederations Cup was about as tough as it gets - having to play reigning world champion Italy followed by five-time champion Brazil.

The Americans lost 3-1 to Italy on Monday and now 3-0 to Brazil.

But U.S. goalie Tim Howard says he and his teammates are not discouraged.

"It was a huge challenge," said Tim Howard. "Is it a letdown? Yes, we're disappointed. I don't ever think we concede victory very easily. And we're proud and we're competitive, and when things don't go our way we're never happy. But it always was going to be difficult. We knew that."

The U.S. soccer team will try to finish group play with a win over Egypt on Sunday in Rustenburg. The Egyptians pulled off the surprise of the eight-nation tournament on Thursday night, beating Italy, 1-0, in Johannesburg. The lone goal of the match came in the 40th minute on a header from Mohamed Hommos off a corner kick. And Egyptian goalie Essam al Hadari made some key saves in the second half to seal the win.

With that win, Egypt remains alive for a semifinal berth, but so does the United States - even with zero points.

Brazil and Italy play Sunday here in Pretoria in the other group match. Brazil has six points, while Italy and Egypt each have three points. If Brazil and the USA win, Italy, Egypt and the United States would all finish with three points. Then the other semifinal berth from Group B would be determined by goal differential.

European champion Spain has already clinched a semifinal berth from Group A.

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