At the end of the first half of the Confederations Cup final, held in South Africa, the US thought they had a good chance of winning the game, with a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, Brazil’s unbelievable second half comeback shattered that dream.
In the American’s first ever appearance in a FIFA tournament final, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan scored the first two goals of the game, giving the US a 2-0 lead at the end of the first half.
“You realize why these guys are worth so much at times like this, but it’s still disappointing. We are in the position where we don’t want respect, we want to win,” Donovan said.
In the second half, Luis Fabiano scored two goals and Lucio scored a third to lead Brazil to the 3-2 win, giving them their second straight Confederations Cup final, and their third overall. Brazil also won the Confederations Cup in 1997 and 2005.
Through a translator, Brazil’s coach, Dunga, stated, “At halftime, we said there was something lacking, some lack of positioning. We corrected that and we pressured our opponent in the second half and we were able to score a goal.”
Luis Fabiano scored his first goal in the 46th minute, for his fourth goal of the tournament. He tied up the game in the 74th, for a tournament-leading five goals. In the 84th, Lucio scored the game winning goal, by heading in a corner kick from Elano.
“We gave up the first goal so early in second half,” US coach Bob Bradley said. “We really put ourselves in a tough spot.”
“We made more use of the wings and we scored goals,” Dunga said.
Dempsey scored the first goal of the game in the 10th minute. Donovan added to the lead for the US in the 27th.
“They turned the ball over, Ricardo gave me a good pass in the middle. I gave it to Charlie and he did a good job getting it back to me. Just did the rest from there,” Donovan stated about his goal.
There was a little controversy in the 60th, however. Brazilian forward, Kaka, headed a cross from teammate Andre Santos to the near post. Goalkeeper Tim Howard then stepped back in the goal, knocked the shot off the crossbar, and then held the ball securely in his arms. Kaka appealed, saying that the ball was past the line before Howard had it in his arms. Replays show that he was right.
“I don’t know whether the ball crossed the goal line. Maybe the TV images will show,” said Kaka. “It would have been fantastic for me to score a legitimate headed goal.”
The Brazilians have won eight matches and a row, and in fifteen games against the Americans, Brazil has only lost once; in the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Americans reached the semifinals at the first World Cup in 1930, and made the quarterfinals in 2002. Their most famous victory before snapping Spain’s fifteen-game winning streak in the semifinals, was their 1-0 win over England at the World Cup in 1950.
“I think people around the world see that we have a good team, we have good players. Hopefully we can continue to step forward,” said Bradley.
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