Confederations Cup: Brazil and USA (yes, USA!) go Through

21 06 2009

Okay, show of hands. Who, before today, predicted that USA — with one goal (a penalty), zero points and an excruciating -5 goal differential up to this point — would progress out of the group stages ahead of World Cup winners Italy and African champions Egypt?

Anybody? You, there, in the back? No?

Yeah, me neither.

For that to happen, Italy would have to lose by three to Brazil, and Egypt (a team I’ve always considered underrated) would have to lose to the US by a similar score. Improbable, right? Maybe even impossible?

And yet that’s exactly what happened.

In Egypt-USA, Egypt came in a little flat after losing Mohammed Zidan to a hamstring injury in the Italy game, and they never quite found their stride. And the US showed up ready to play, then had their confidence boosted by a fluky 21st minute Charlie Davies goal when Egyptian goalkeeper Essam el Hadary was taken out by his own player. And after that they never looked back. Further goals by Michael Bradley (on a Landon Donovan assist) and Clint Dempsey.

The US will have to hope they haven’t used up their miracle quota, because now they play Spain in the semis.

And in the other match, Italy had a night to forget. They especially won’t want to think much about a ten-minute period at the end of the first half, when Brazil scored all three of their goals. Although they did have some help from Andrea Dossena, who capped off the half with an own goal, put in like he meant it.


I caught a lot of the replay, and outside of those ten minutes, Italy had plenty of opportunities and didn’t really look bad. It’s just that Brazil looked better. And (dare I say it?) younger. Robinho and Luis Fabiano in particular looked on fire, and Italy had nothing to match that. I think we may be seeing some housecleaning (and maybe younger players?) in this team before World Cup.

And here’s what the semifinals will look like:

Spain vs. USA, Weds., 6/24
Brazil vs. South Africa, Thurs. 6/25




One response

23 06 2009

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