Sunday, June 28, 2009

Confederations Cup 2009 Champions: Brazil

Was there any real doubt about the outcome? Well, perhaps, when the US took a 2-0 lead during the first half there was a chance that the US could pull of just one more upset. The first goal was Dempsey's in the 10th minute, followed by a wonderful strike from Landon Donovan in the 27th... and this time he scored from the run of play.

Thing is, a 2 goal lead isn't a safe against a team like Brazil.

Yes, we beat the top ranked team in the world, Spain, to get to this final by that score, but as good as Spain is, Brazil has always done well in tournaments where they weren't considered the out right favorites. Spain, on the other hand, the 2008 European Cup the exception, have a reputation of going into tournaments with high hopes, only to fall well short of lifting a trophy.

Taking a 2-0 lead into the half was amazing. Expecting to hold off the Brazilian's for another 45+ minutes is another. With 3 second half goals, Brazil came storming back in the second half. The US played well, but, let's face facts, Brazil were the better team over all. If not for some fine saves by Tim Howard the score could well have been 3-2 in the first half. Losing at the end of 90 by that score isn't such a bad thing.

Look at it this way, this is the highest finish for the USA in a tournament out side of CONCACAF ever. And considering the way they started in their first two group games, it can be argued that if they HAD pulled off this miracle there would be those who would have screamed that some how the rest of there matches were some how fixed, that bribes had been made, or that FIFA officials had swayed the other teams for the results to go in the USA's favor, all in an attempt to give futbol/soccer higher visibility in a country that has so many sports higher on their agenda than most countries even bother playing.

At the end of this day, the US team has nothing to be ashamed of. They played well against both Spain and Brazil, two of the very best teams in the world today. Now they just have to build on this and gear up to having a strong showing at next year's World Cup.

If they don't qualify for South Africa 2010, or get knocked out in the first round, then everything they've accomplished in this tournament becomes so much water under the bridge.

Spain picked up the third place metals, beating host South Africa in what turned out to be a thriller. Final score was 3-2 as well, but this match required extra time to complete.

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