Brazil showed character to defeat USA 3-2 to win the
FIFA 2009 Confederation Cup in Johannesburg, South
Africa. In the semi final the Brazilians struggled with
host South Africa and had to utilize a well taken free
kick in the 88th minute to salvage a 1-0 win
and its right to play USA in the final.
on the other hand entered the Confederation final
beaming with confidence after defeating Spain, the
number one ranked team in the world on goals by Jozy
Altidore and Clint Dempsey and a strong defensive
Brazil was favored heading into the final, but USA could
not be taken lightly. It was a given that Brazil would
have the advantage in the ball possession, but many felt
that it would have been a good match up of Brazil high
powered offense which had average over three goals a
game and USA stingy defense.
it turned out it was USA offense that struck first,
although Brazil had their share of early chances. USA
opened the scoring on a goal by Dempsey at the 10th
minute, after he redirected Jonathan Spector’s cross
from just inside the penalty spot to beat keeper Julio
Cesar inside the far post.
stage was set for an exciting encounter when the
Americans did not let up and followed up the opening
goal with a second score from Landon Donavan to take a
2-0 halftime lead. Many felt we had a game on our hands
in the second half.
Brazil offense had not been shutout to that point in the
tournament and USA was cashing in on counter attacks.
To add to the suspense Brazil had not win after being in
two-goal deficit games on four previous occasions under
Brazil coach Dunga.
However, Brazil did not waste any time in trying to
dispel the myth in the second half to stage after Luis
Fabiano scored in the 46th minute and
equalized in the 74th minute to start Brazil
dramatic come-back, which occurred when Lucio added the
winner in the 84th minute to earn Brazil its third
Although many may say that the Brazil victory was
inevitable since Brazil soccer is superior to that of
the Americans, for me it was USA inexperience that cost
them and was the difference in the game as it took its
toll on the players towards the end of the game.
was playing in their first world final in its history,
while Brazil is a five-time World Cup champ for the 14th
time in 15 tries and has earned its second title in two
weeks. Championship experience is extremely valuable
when going into a final and although USA fans may have
felt that it looked like it was their destiny due of
their emotional rollercoaster after having to rally
after losses to Italy (3-1) and Brazil (3-0) before
defeating Egypt 3-0 to reach the semi final against
Spain, it did not turn out that way.
However, I am of the belief that USA have proven that
they are the #1 team in CONCACAF and that soccer in the
region is not that far away from a world championship at
the senior level. USA captain Donavan could not have
said it any better when questioned.
"Yeah we’re disappointed. To give up goal so fast in
the second half hurt," Donovan said. "Give credit to
them, they kept coming in wave after wave; they probably
deserved to win.
"But it's a disappointing when we gave such a great
On the flip side Brazil coach Dunga was ecstatic after
winning the Cup which has extended Brazil’s winning
streak to eight and unbeaten string to 16.
when we went 2-0 down, we still believed we would win.
To come back from this deficit you need a team of men”
became the only man to win the FIFA Confederations Cup
as a player and coach.
"We were very determined. To come back from this
deficit you need a team of men. I'm proud of my
Lucio and Luis Fabiano, were instrumental in Brazil’s
Confederation Cup win and finished atop of the Castrol
Index to seize the Adidas Golden Shoe respectively.
While Kaka, was named Budweiser Man of the Match in
the final and won the Adidas Golden Ball as the MVP of
It was a bitter sweet situation for USA, who can take
tremendous pride in their effort to reach the final and
giving a good account of themselves and a good
representation for CONCACAF.
However coach Bradley and his USA team would have to
learn from their experience or lack of it after giving
up three unanswered goal in the second half to lose the
Confederation Cup 3-2 and Bradley explained.
"The experience for our players in South Africa has
been very special. It's something we'll remember and use
as motivation to be back here next year for the World
Besides Brazil and USA South Africa and the supporters
made the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup a tremendous
Daniel Alves fires Brazil into final
- BLOEMFONTEIN, South
Africa – Brazil edged South Africa 1-0 in a very tight
semi-final thanks to Daniel Alves's brilliant late
free-kick. The Barcelona wing-back only entered the fray
in the latter stages, but his 88th-minute rocket finally
undid goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
The game kicked off to the sound of vuvuzelas
reverberating around the stadium, and within seconds, so
too was the roar of 'Booooooth' as South Africa's
towering defender got his first touch. Teko Modise drew
gasps from his adoring supporters in the fourth minute
by bursting past two opponents before Lucio aborted the
attack, and Felipe Melo did brilliantly to dispossess
Steven Pienaar after the Everton playmaker had wriggled
away from two markers down the left.
South Africa had begun brightly, but it was Brazil who
created the first opportunity on 14 minutes. Maicon
galloped down the right flank and neatly cut the ball
back for Luis Fabiano, on the edge of the area. The
Sevilla striker squared the ball for Ramires, whose
left-foot shot was gathered by goalkeeper Khune.
Bafana Bafana instantly responded with an opportunity of
their own. Siboniso Gaxa won the ball inside the
opposition half, raced forward and unleashed a piercing,
30-yard drive that went narrowly wide of Julio Cesar's
right post. Aaron Mokoena came even closer to breaking
the deadlock on 21 minutes, heading a pinpoint Modise
free-kick inches over when unmarked.
Another set-piece, this time a direct shot on goal from
Tsepo Masilela, was tipped over by Julio Cesar on 27
minutes. Kaka then sprung to life, collecting the ball
in midfield, accelerating past two adversaries and
feeding Ramires, who, well placed inside the South
Africa box, failed to control the ball. Ten minutes
before half-time, Andre Santos employed fine technique
to test Khune, who was nonetheless equal to his
Kaka was next to try his luck. The Brazil No10 raced
inside from the left and curled a trademark effort just
wide of the post, and the same player forced a save out
of Khune, following another charge into opposition
territory, with the half running out. There was still
time for Pienaar to shoot narrowly wide from 25 yards
and to block a fierce Andre Santos free-kick, before the
referee's whistle brought an entertaining, albeit
goalless, half to a close.
Brazil swiftly assumed the initiative upon resumption of
the second half. First, Kaka sprinted down the left
touchline, before darting inside and winning a corner,
which came to nothing. Then, Maicon played a one-two
with Luis Fabiano and crossed for Kaka, who headed over
but had been penalised for a foul anyway.
The pendulum then swung in the favour of Joel Santana's
side. Pienaar's on-target shot was blocked by Luisao,
before a Modise shot took a wicked deflection off the
aforementioned defender and forced Julio Cesar to dive
to his left and tip the ball round his upright. This
spell of pressure prompted vociferous shouts from the
South African faithful.
Luis Fabiano and Robinho then wasted half-chances inside
the Bafana Bafana box, but it was the underdogs who were
doing the majority of the pressing. And when Masilela
cruised past two Brazilians down the left wing, his
ensuing cross was just inches too high for the leaping
In the end the Brazilians needed a set piece to seal the
deal and book a place in the final against the United
States, who they beat 3-0 in the first round. After a
foul on the edge of the area by Mokoena, substitute
Daniel Alves curled his shot home with his right boot to
end the Africans' brave fight.
shocks Spain 2-0 in Confederations Cup semifinals
The United States ended
Spain’s 15-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory on
Wednesday, upsetting the European champion with goals by
Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to reach the final of
the Confederations Cup for the first time.
The result was the Americans’ first victory in four
attempts against the op-ranked Spanish, which also saw
its record 35-match unbeaten streak ended.
The United States played an inspired first half,
creating several chances. But it played nearly the
second half in its own end, finishing with 10 men, and
survived with a collective defensive effort highlighted
by key performances by central defender Oguchi Onyewu
and goalkeeper Tim Howard, and Dempsey’s goal against
the run of play.
Onyewu constantly anticipated passes and diffused danger
while Howard made several saves that looked like sure
"We played as hard as we could. That's what it took,"
U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "We'll take a few hours to
regroup. We're so excited about this."
The victory puts the United States into Sunday’s final
against either host South Africa or a rematch against
Brazil. Brazil beat the Americans 3-0 in the first
The United States took nearly four minutes before it
gained any meaningful possession, but then started
looking dangerous beginning with a bicycle attempt by
Charlie Davies in the seventh minute that went wide
Fernando Torres and Sergio Ramos troubled the U.S.
defense, but Spain also found itself tested with a shot
from distance by Landon Donovan in the 21st minute.
Altidore, who plays in Spain for Xerez, converted in the
27th minute, taking a ball from Dempsey at his feet,
muscling off Joan Capdevilla at the top of the penalty
area, turning and shooting. Diving Spain keeper Iker
Casillas managed to get his right hand to deflect the
ball, but it only slightly altered the path as it
bounced in off the left post.
It was the first goal allowed by Spain in the
The United States continued to create chances in the
first half, but appeared overwhelmed by Spain after the
break. The Spanish created no fewer than five chances in
the first 11 minutes of the second half, and the
Americans looked ready to break.
The U.S. gave away the ball cheaply in the middle third,
inviting repeated attacks. But it occasionally broke
free and in the 74th, Donovan worked open down the right
side, and his cross was slightly deflected by Gerard
Pique before Ramos’ stopped it. Dempsey was positioned
at the left post, turned and struck the ball under
Casillas for the insurance.
The Americans played the final four minutes down a man
after Michael Bradley was ejected for a physical foul,
the third time in four games the U.S. had man red
The victory probably comes as one of the biggest in U.S.
soccer history, along with its victory over England in
the 1950 World Cup, its win over Trinidad to qualify for
the 1990 World Cup, and its victory over Brazil in the
1998 Gold Cup.