The U.S. Soccer Team has overcome long odds to reach the Confederations
Cup semifinals in South Africa. The U.S. defeated Egypt, 3-0, and got
help from Brazil, which beat World Cup champion Italy by an identical
Counted out by just about everyone after lopsided
losses to Italy and Brazil at this Confederations Cup, the U.S. Soccer
team is surprisingly moving on to the semifinals by the narrowest of
The second group tiebreaker had to be used after the
USA, Italy and Egypt all finished with three points from one win and
two losses. Brazil won all three of its matches to top Group B with
The Americans and Italians finished with goal
differences of minus two, while Egypt had minus three. The next
tiebreaker was goals scored, and the USA won out over Italy - 4 - 3.
U.S. took the lead against Egypt in the 21st minute on a goal by
forward Charlie Davies, who had not played in the previous two games.
He managed to control a rebound off the Egyptian goalkeeper who was
sprawled on the ground by the left post and booted it in off the
The Americans held the 1-0 halftime lead. U.S.
coach Bob Bradley said they knew in the other group match being played
at the same time that Brazil had grabbed a 3-0 lead over Italy at the
"At halftime, we felt if we were smart and we
continued to press in a good way, then there would be chances and that
we could get two more goals," Bradley said. "So in that regard, credit
the players for the push that they made throughout the game. And we're
excited to move on."
The second goal for the United States came
from the coach's son, midfielder Michael Bradley, in the 63rd minute,
off a well-placed cross from captain Landon Donovan. The third goal -
the one that would be the key to reaching the semifinals - was scored
in the 71st minute on a header by midfielder Clint Dempsey off a long
high pass into the box from defender Jonathan Spector.
was named "Man of the Match". He said he knew only the day before the
game that the Americans still had a mathematical chance to make it to
the semifinals. He said that to achieve what they did is something
special and something to build on.
"You know, you want to end on
a good note and try to get something out of this tournament," Dempsey
said. "It was important to us to deal with what we dealt with - losing
two games to two good teams [Italy and Brazil]. But we were still
going to work hard and try to get something out of it, and we did. And
I think that says a lot about our coaches and a lot about our team and
our mentality in trying to move forward and better ourselves as a
national team and as footballers."
So the surprising turn of
events on Sunday night with Brazil's 3-0 win over Italy and the
Americans 3-0 win over Egypt puts the United States into the semifinals against European champion Spain - the Group A winner. Spain is on an international record 15-game winning streak.
Group B winner Brazil will face Group A runner-up, host South Africa.