United States Qualify for Confederations Cup Semi Final
A 3-0 victory over African champions Egypt in Rustenburg secured the United States side a place in the Confederations Cup semi finals. There they will play European Champions Spain who waltzed through Group A with three wins.
Clint Dempsey scored the crucial third goal to put the Americans ahead of both Italy and Egypt on goal difference. Italy were being thumped 3-0 by Brazil at the same time and the combination of the two results secured what seemed impossible before the kick offs.
Yet it all seemed so improbable this morning. The US had been solidly beaten in both their previous games, 3-1 by Italy and 3-0 by Brazil. All the talk had been of Egypt and Italy who both started the game on three points competing for that second spot.
Charlie Davies opened the scoring for the US in the 21st minute but most eyes were still trained on Pretoria at half time, where three goals in the last eight minutes of the first half had seen Italy humiliated and embarrassed as they traipsed off 3-0 down at half time. The calculators were out and Egypt lay in second place as things stood but Italy needed one more goal to overhaul them, and qualify even with a 3-1 loss.
When Michael Bradley doubled the Americans’ lead in the 63 minute, it was still not enough to dislodge the Pharoahs, as the Egyptian side is known. Meanwhile Italy were pressing hard for the goal that would save their blushes as Brazil relaxed and began to take things a little easier.
But eight minutes after the second goal, Clint Dempsey struck the third for the USA and all of a sudden, the ‘Live Table’ had the Americans in second place. Egypt moved up a gear and pinned USA back for much of the remainder of the game and there were some nervous moments for Coach Bob Bradley as his side conceded a succession of corners. The Italy game finished at 3-0 and the Americans now knew their fate lay in their hands.
Finally after three added minutes, New Zealand referee Michael Hester blew his whistle to signal the start of celebrations on and off the pitch for the American squad and their fans.
The U.S. will face Spain at Free State Stadium in Mangaung/Bloemfontein at 11:25am PT. The match will be live on ESPN and TeleFutura. Spain, ranked No. 1 in the FIFA World Rankings, won Group A with three victories against New Zealand, Iraq and South Africa. Brazil will play hosts South Africa in the other semi final.