The U.S. men's soccer team is set to play its second match in FIFA's eight-nation Confederations Cup tournament in South Africa. After to reigning World Cup champion Italy, it does not get any easier for the Americans, who face five-time World Cup champion Brazil Thursday in Pretoria.
The U.S. Soccer team is regrouping after its tough 3-1 loss Monday to world champion Italy. The Americans were unable to hold a 1-0 half-time lead after playing two-thirds of the match a man down following the ejection of a player for a hard foul.
Now the U.S. team is preparing to take on Brazil. The U.S. faced Brazil in the 2003 Confederations Cup in France and lost 1-0.
Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley played in that game and has faced the South American champions two other times in the past six years, both U.S. losses.
"Brazil, they obviously bring a lot of guys forward. Obviously, we have got to be smart, make sure we stay compact, and defend well. That is the way to have to win against Brazil. You have to defend well and stop their attacking players. If we can do that well, I think we will get our chances," Beasley said.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley said his players are always motivated by the opportunity to play Brazil, and they know what is at stake in this match.
"When you come to the Confederations Cup, it is similar to the World Cup; the first round is three games. And the mentality of the group must be strong. If you do not play as well as you want in the first game, or if you lose, you still understand there [are] two more games to find a way to advance," Bradley said.
Brazil scored on a late penalty kick to beat a determined Egypt 4-3 in the other Group B opening match Monday in South Africa.
Renato Silvo of Brazil's TV Globo told VOA Sports the players and the Brazilian media following the team believe taking on the U.S. squad is not an easy a challenge.
"It is always tough. It is impossible for Brazil, I think, to win against the USA by more than two goals, for example. It is always 1-0, 2-1, or 1-1. It is always tough," he said.
Silvo added there has been criticism of Brazil's defense, but it usually rises to the occasion when it needs to.