The United States defeated Spain 2-0 today in Bloemfontein, South Africa to advance to the final of the Confederations Cup. Sure, the tourney as a whole is just a tune-up for next year’s World Cup, but that was Spain’s first team out there today. Spain, the FIFA #1 ranked team in the world and current European champion, which hadn’t lost since 2006, were shut out by a US team that opened the tourney with losses of 1-3 and 0-3 and struggled just to get results in recent World Cup qualifiers against the likes of El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras.
I was at work during the first half, when Wunderkind Jozy Altidore opened the scoring 26 minutes in with a blast that Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas managed to get a finger on, but went in off the left post. At halftime I went to a nearby pub and watched the second half, which featured relentless pressure and attack from the Spaniards. US keeper Tim Howard and his defenders made some incredible saves, coach Bob Bradley bunkered 8 in the box, and they kept Spain off the scoreboard. Then in the 74th minute Landon Donovan sent in a cross that pinballed off a couple defenders, and Clint Dempsey was there to deftly punch in the second goal. The US endured another nearly 20 mintues of Spain attack and won 2-0, much to the joy of the 10 or so people watching at the bar with me. [highlights here]
Incredible. Frankly incredible. Definitey one of the biggest wins in the history of US soccer. I was starting to get worried about their recent form in WC qualifiers, and figured they would be rudely dumped out of this tournament (which looked set to happen after humiliating losses to Italy and Brazil, before they defeated Egypt to advance). Now I’m looking forward to seeing the lads take on either Brazil or South Africa in the final this Sunday,