U.S. Prepares to Face No. 1-Ranked Spain in FIFA Confederations Cup Semifinals
Advancing to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals by defeating Egypt 3-0 and scoring more goals overall in Group B than Italy, the U.S. now faces a No. 1-ranked Spain team that has been on an runaway train of an international record 15-consecutive victories and tying Brazil’s international record with 35 games unbeaten.
June 22, 2009
FIFA Confederations Cup Schedule
Round Date Match Time TV Venue
Semifinal June 24 U.S. vs. Spain 2:25 p.m. ET ESPN & Univision Free State Stadium; Mangaung/Bloemfontein
Semifinal June 25 SA vs. Brazil 2:25 p.m. ET ESPN & Univision Ellis Park; Johannesburg
Third-Place June 28 Semi Losers 8:55 a.m. ET ESPN2 & Univision Royal Bafokeng Stadium; Rustenburg
Final June 28 Semi Winners 2:25 p.m. ET ESPN2 & Univision Ellis Park; Johannesburg
- UPDATE: FIFA has informed U.S. Soccer that yellow cards from group play do not carry over into the knockout round, so only a red card against Spain would mean that a player would miss the placement match on Sunday. Also, if a player receives a red card in a placement match, he will be suspended for the Gold Cup opener.
- U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra missed the first three games game with a hamstring strain. His status for Sunday is questionable. The U.S. is already without several regulars at the FIFA Confederations Cup due to injury including Steve Cherundolo, Frankie Hejduk, Maurice Edu and Brian Ching.
- Spector and Jay DeMerit have stepped in to start and play 90 minutes in three straight games for a total of 270 minutes each. For Spector, that’s more minutes than he played for the U.S. from June 13, 2007, until the start of the Confederations Cup, and for DeMerit that’s more minutes than he played from June 29, 2007, until facing Italy on June 15.
- Brad Guzan made his FIFA Confederations Cup debut on Sunday against Egypt, making four saves and recording his fifth career shutout in 13 matches.
- Spector’s assist on Clint Dempsey’s goal was his first career point for the U.S.
- Dempsey’s goal was the 14th of his career, moving him into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time scoring list for the U.S., passing Marcelo Balboa and Hugo Perez, and one behind Cobi Jones in eighth place. Dempsey also moved into a tie with Perez in 11th all-time with 34 points, one ahead of Clint Mathis.
- Bradley’s goal was the sixth of his career, and matches the totals of players such as John Harkes, Ben Olsen, Ante Razov, Taylor Twellman and Bert Patenaude.
- Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 113 appearances, passing longtime U.S. captain Claudio Reyna to move into fourth place on the all-time list. The USA’s all-time leader in goals (40) and assists (37) has one of each at the Confederations Cup, with his penalty kick goal against Italy being the deciding factor in U.S. advancement to the semifinals.
- Donovan leads the team in minutes (720), assists (5) and points (11) in 2009, and is tied with Dempsey as the only player to start eight of the nine U.S. games.
- In addition to Bocanegra, Heath Pearce, Marvell Wynne, Freddy Adu, José Francisco Torres and the third goalkeeper Luis Robles have yet to appear at the Confederations Cup. Danny Califf has been excused from the team camp to attend to family matters.
- The U.S. defensive line of Spector, Onyewu, DeMerit and Bornstein has started together in three consecutive games and allowed six goals. The last quartet to start three straight games for the U.S. was Cherundolo, Onyewu, Bocanegra and Pearce who allowed three goals combined against Poland, England and Spain between March 26 and June 4, 2008. These are the only two occurrences of a back four playing three straight games together for Bradley.
- The U.S. is the first team in the history of a FIFA World Cup or FIFA Confederations Cup to advance to the next round with a 1-2-0 record in group play. In fact, the only other time a team with a 1-2-0 record finished in second place in a group was at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, when England finished ahead of the USA (which famously beat England in that event) and Chile. But in 1950, only the group winners advanced to the next stage.
- The U.S. has a 1-7-1 record against teams atop the FIFA World Rankings. The only win came against Brazil in 1998 at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a 1-0 win. All seven of the losses were to Brazil, and the tie was against Argentina on June 8, 2008.
- As the top team in the world, Spain’s roster of 23 players includes 22 who closed out their 2008-09 season with clubs that qualified for either UEFA Champions League or Europa League. By contrast, only Clint Dempsey (Fulham) Tim Howard (Everton), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege) and DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers) were with clubs at the end of the season that qualified for European tournaments. Jozy Altidore played in the fall of 2008 at Europa League-bound Villarreal before moving to Xerez on loan.
- For the second time under Bradley, the U.S. faced teams ranked in the top five in the world consecutively while going winless against Italy and Brazil in group play. The U.S. was 0-1-1 against Spain and Argentina in 2008. The U.S. has a 0-5-1 record against top five teams under Bradley, and a 7-18-1 record against the top five teams since the FIFA World Rankings began in August 1993. At neutral sites, the U.S. is 2-8-0 against top-five teams. The two wins came against Germany (1999 FIFA Confederations Cup) and Portugal (2002 FIFA World Cup).
- The shutout by Brazil in group play ended the second longest streak of consecutive games with a goal for the U.S. at 15 games. The U.S. was shut out for the first time since a 0-0 draw against Argentina in 2008. The record for consecutive games scoring for the U.S. is 23, from May 13, 2004, until July 9, 2005.
- The Brazil match was just the sixth time in 40 games under Bradley that the U.S. has surrendered three or more goals, with top-five teams accounting for four occurrences (Argentina, Italy and Brazil twice).
- With the win against Egypt, the U.S. record against African opponent moved level at .500 (5-5-2 overall).
- The FIFA Confederations Cup is the 47th FIFA men’s competition in which the U.S. has participated. Only Brazil (60) has participated in more.
- The U.S. team has been together in part since training camp opened on May 26 before two World Cup qualifiers, at Costa Rica and home against Honduras. The team departed from Chicago on June 8 for South Africa, arriving on June 9 into Pretoria.
- South Africa marks the U.S. team’s fourth appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The U.S. also appeared in Saudi Arabia (1992), Mexico (1999) and France (2003).
- Of the 23 players named to the roster, 16 are plying their trade in Europe – in nine different countries. Six play in Major League Soccer in the U.S., and José Francisco Torres plays for Pachuca in Mexico.
- South Africa 2009 is the eighth edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup. The tournament began as the Intercontinental Championship (King Fahd Cup) in 1992 and 1995, before becoming an eight-team tournament in 1997.
- The U.S. has twice finished third at the FIFA Confederations Cup. In 1992, the U.S. was third out of four teams, and in 1999 they were third of eight teams.
- Bruce Murray and Brian McBride lead the U.S. with two goals each in Confederations Cup play. Overall, Mexico’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Brazil’s Ronaldinho hold the record with nine career goals in the tournament.
- Following the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, the U.S. returns to home soil to defend the CONCACAF Gold Cup title from July 3-26 in 13 venues across the United States.
FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP FINAL GROUP STANDINGS & RESULTS
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts
Spain 3 3 0 0 8 0 +8 9
South Africa 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Iraq 3 0 1 2 0 1 -1 2
New Zealand 3 0 2 1 0 7 -7 1
South Africa 0, Iraq 0
New Zealand 0, Spain 5
Spain 1, Iraq 0
South Africa 2, New Zealand 0
Iraq 0, New Zealand 0
Spain 2, South Africa 0
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts
Brazil 3 2 0 0 7 3 +4 6
USA 3 1 2 0 4 6 -2 3
Italy 3 1 2 0 3 5 -2 3
Egypt 3 1 2 0 4 7 -3 3
Brazil 4, Egypt 3
USA 1, Italy 3
USA 0, Brazil 3
Egypt 1, Italy 0
Italy 0, Brazil 3
Egypt 0, USA 3
ussoccer.com COVERAGE FROM SOUTH AFRICA: The Studio 90 crew is on hand in South Africa and capturing all the sights and sounds from the FIFA Confederations Cup. Coverage will continue throughout the tournament. For all of the latest news, podcasts, and blog updates, log onto ussoccer.com.
IN FOCUS: SPAIN
Real Federación Española de Fútbol
Founded: 1909 (Joined FIFA in 1913) Head Coach: Vicente Del Bosque
FIFA World Cup Appearances: 12
Best FIFA World Cup Finish: Fourth (1950) Best FIFA Confederations Cup Finish: First Appearance
Most Caps: Andoni Zubizarreta (126)
Most Goals: Raúl (44)
A LOOK AT SPAIN: The Euro 2008 champions are on a rarely seen form that has led to a record 15-consecutive victories and 35-straight matches unbeaten. The 15 victories date since their 0-0 draw with Italy in the Euro 2008 final, which was decided 4-2 in penalty kicks. Spain’s last loss was on Nov. 15, 2006, falling to Romania in a friendly. The Spanish roster includes 16 players from La Liga, and including four from 2009 UEFA Champions League/2008-09 league champions Barcelona. Another six play in the English Premier League, where five were part of the Liverpool squad that finished as runners up to Manchester United. To get a better idea of the class of player Spain has at its disposal, 22 of their 23 players closed out their 2008-09 seasons with clubs that qualified to play in Europe, in either the Champions League or Europa League. The 23rd player is Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao, and he scored one of Spain’s goals against South Africa on Saturday.
SPAIN TOURNAMENT RECAP: Spain has continued their record-setting form with victories in each of their three Group A matches, defeating New Zealand 5-0, Iraq 1-0 and South Africa 2-0. Valencia’s David Villa – the subject of summer transfer rumors – and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres have led the way with three goals each, including a sensational hat trick by Torres that he completed just 17 minutes into the Group A opener against New Zealand using his head, left foot and right foot. Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabergas and Fernando Llorente have added a goal each. Iker Casillas has earned two shutouts in goal, while Pepe Reina shut out South Africa in Spain’s group finale.
U.S. HISTORY AGAINST SPAIN: The U.S. and Spain have met just three times previously, with Spain winning all three meetings. Most recently, the U.S. traveled to Spain on June 4, 2008, six days before Spain began their successful Euro 2008 campaign that led to FIFA Confederations Cup qualification. The teams were scoreless through 78 minutes, but that’s when Cesc Fabregas threaded the needle to Xavi Hernandez, who finished past Brad Guzan for the 1-0 victory. The first meeting between the teams came at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, with Gino Pariani scoring the only U.S. goal in a 3-1 loss in group play (although the goal is disputed in the record books and FIFA still credits John Souza). The only other meeting between the teams was a friendly on March 11, 1992, in Valladolid, Spain, that was won 2-0 by the hosts.
USA-SPAIN AT THE YOUTH LEVEL: The U.S. has twice faced Spain at the youth level, in the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup, with several current FIFA Confederations Cup squad members seeing time against Spanish teams that finished champions and runners-up in those tournaments, respectively. In 1999, the U.S. U-20s, which included starting goalkeeper Tim Howard and defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Danny Califf, battled to a 3-2 loss in the Round of 16. Spain’s Xavi, currently in South Africa, scored the game-winner in that game 10 years ago. In 2003, Cesc Fabregas was starring for Spain at the U-17 level as they faced the Americans in the third and final game of the group phase, with the top seed up for grabs. A U.S. team that included Jonathan Spector put up a good fight before eventually succumbing to the European giants in a 2-0 loss. Freddy Adu was also on the team, but was suspended for the match against Spain due to yellow card accumulation.
GETTING HERE: The U.S. qualified for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup by virtue of a 2-1 come-from-behind win against regional rival Mexico on June 24, 2007, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final. After falling behind in the 34th minute, Landon Donovan tied the game with a 62nd-minute penalty kick and 11 minutes later Benny Feilhaber hit a one-time, full-volley blast out of the air and into the upper left corner from the top of the penalty area to clinch the U.S. win. Nine of the 11 U.S. starters from that game are on Bob Bradley’s Confederations Cup roster: Tim Howard, Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Clint Dempsey, Feilhaber, DaMarcus Beasley and Donovan. Ricardo Clark appeared in the final as a halftime substitution and is also in South Africa.
AT THE CONFEDERATIONS CUP – U.S. HISTORY: South Africa 2009 is the fourth U.S. appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The U.S. played the first-ever game in the tournament, a 3-0 loss to hosts Saudi Arabia in 1992 when the tournament was then known as the King Fahd Cup. The U.S. went on to finish third in that event with a 5-2 victory against Ivory Coast, but would not return until the 1999 edition came just south of the U.S. border in Mexico. There, the U.S. would repeat the success of 1992, albeit with a field doubling in size from four to eight. The U.S. posted victories against New Zealand and Germany in group play, but fell to hosts Mexico at Estadio Azteca in the semifinals. Against Saudi Arabia in the third-place match, the U.S. earned the bronze with a 2-0 victory. In 2003, the U.S. again qualified as CONCACAF Gold Cup winners, and was set to face-off against Turkey, Brazil and Cameroon in group play. A pair of one-goal losses to Turkey and Brazil in the first two games saw an inexperienced U.S. team packing its bags before managing a 0-0 draw in the group finale to eventual runner-up Cameroon.
RETURN TO AFRICA FOR U.S.: The U.S. returns to South Africa less than two years after an extremely unique visit on Nov. 17, 2007, to face the Bafana Bafana in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup. The U.S., along with Brazil and Egypt, are the only countries that played on South African soil prior to arriving for the Confederations Cup. The U.S. traveled and played 17 players, and 15 of those 17 are on the Confederations Cup roster. Steve Cherundolo, who scored the winner for the U.S., and Maurice Edu, who earned his first career point with the assist, are absent this time around due to aforementioned injuries.
DEBUTANT IN 2007, SCORING LEADER IN 2009: Forward Jozy Altidore earned his first career cap on Nov. 17, 2007, as the U.S. faced South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup. Since then, Altidore has gone on to lead the U.S. in scoring in the 2010 qualifying campaign with five goals – three of which came in a hat trick performance against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1, 2009. Amazingly, Altidore was the 61st player to earn a cap in 2007 under Bob Bradley across 18 games. The 61 players were the most-ever to appear in a calendar year for the U.S. as Bradley scoured the player pool for his core group of players that would take part in the 2010 qualifying campaign.
BIG MEN IN MLS: Conor Casey, the MLS Player of the Month for May, was tied for the league lead with eight goals when he left to join the U.S. team. Casey replaced Ching on the U.S. roster, and made his first start since 2005 on June 6, 2009, against Honduras. Casey has excelled with the Colorado Rapids, scoring 19 goals in 31 games across the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Also having a successful campaign in the U.S. domestic league, Landon Donovan has picked up where he left off after his 20-goal season in 2008. Donovan is tied for third in MLS with six goals this season.
HOPING FOR A THIRD TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA: After five of 10 games, the U.S. sits in second place in CONCACAF region’s FIFA World Cup qualifying, two points behind Costa Rica. The difference between the top two teams in the standings is the result of a 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica suffered by the U.S. on June 3 on the artificial surface of San Jose’s Saprissa Stadium. Following the loss in Costa Rica, the U.S. defeated Honduras on June 6 in Chicago to continue an undefeated run in home qualifiers that dates to 2001. The road to South Africa started for the U.S. with a 9-0 aggregate win in a two-game series against Barbados, and continued in the fall as the U.S. posted a 5-1-0 record in the CONCACAF semifinal round in a group with Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala and Cuba.
CONCACAF FINAL ROUND QUALIFYING UPDATE: The fourth and fifth match days of CONCACAF qualifying wrapped up, with the majority of games taking place on Saturday, June 6, and Wednesday, June 10. To get a head start on their departure to South Africa, FIFA granted the U.S. permission to move up their qualifier at Costa Rica to June 3. The top three teams in the hexagonal table automatically earn berths to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, while the fourth-place team will face a two-leg playoff against the fifth-place finisher in South America. The next set of games is slated for Aug. 12, when the U.S. travels in an attempt to earn their first victory against Mexico at the famed Estadio Azteca – the host venue for the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup final.
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Costa Rica 5 4 1 0 9 5 +4 12
United States 5 3 1 1 10 6 +4 10
Honduras 5 2 2 1 6 6 0 7
Mexico 5 2 3 0 5 7 -2 6
El Salvador 5 1 2 2 6 7 -1 5
Trinidad & Tobago 5 0 3 2 5 10 -5 2
BOB ON THE JOB: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 41 games under his belt, seeing more than 70 different players at least once and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 in full swing, a review of the body of work during the past two years points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:
- won six straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a row in 2008, a new team record (June 15-Oct. 15)
- defended the CONCACAF Gold Cup title and qualified for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
- won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on 6/15/08)
- won back-to-back games in Europe for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007, @ Switzerland and March 26, 2008, @ Poland)
- won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007, @ Switzerland, Nov. 17, 2007 @ South Africa and March 26, 2008, @ Poland)
- played five matches against four teams ranked in the top five in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Spain)
- played matches on four continents and the FIFA Confederations Cup will be his third major tournament
- advanced out of Group B at the FIFA Confederations Cup ahead of Italy and Egypt
Record Record vs. … Record when …
All-Time: 26-11-4 CONCACAF: 16-2-3, 44 GF, 14 GA Leading at half: 17-1-1
Qualifying: 10-2-1 CONMEBOL: 1-5-1, 7 GF, 16 GA Losing at half: 1-4-1
Goals For: 78 UEFA: 5-4-0, 13 GF, 10 GA Tied at half: 8-6-2
Goals Against: 42 AFC: 1-0-0, 4 GF, 1 GA
Shutouts: 17 CAF: 2-0-0, 4 GF, 0 GA
On the field for the USA
June 21, 2009 — Royal Bafokeng Stadium; Rustenburg, South Africa – Confederations Cup Group B
USA 3 Charlie Davies 21, Michael Bradley 63, Clint Dempsey 71
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 12-Jonathan Spector, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 15-Jay DeMerit, 2-Jonathan Bornstein; 10-Landon Donovan (capt.), 13 -Ricardo Clark, 12-Michael Bradley, 8-Clint Dempsey; 9-Charlie Davies (4-Conor Casey, 82), 17-Jozy Altidore (22-Benny Feilhaber, 69)
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 6-Heath Pearce, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Marvell Wynne, 14-Danny Califf, 19-Freddy Adu, 20-Jose Torres, 23-Luis Robles
Not Eligible: 16-Sacha Kljestan (suspension)
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
EGY: 1-Essam El Hadary (capt.); 7-Ahmed Fathi (4-Ahmed Said, 53), 6-Hani Said, 20-Wael Gomaa, 15-Ahmed Farag; 3-Ahmed Al Muhamadi, 11-Mohamed Shawky, 22-Mohamed Aboutrika, 8-Hosni Abd Rabbou; 10-Ahmed Eid (17-Ahmed Hassan, 50), 18-Ahmed Abdelghani (19-Mohamed Abougrisha, 62)
Subs Not Used: 16-Wahid, 23-Mohamed Sobhi, 2-Mahmoud Fathalla, 5-Ahmed Khairy, 9-Mohamed Zidan, 12-Mohamed Homos, 13-Abdelaziz Tawfik, 14-Sayed Moawad, 21-Ahmed Raouf
Head Coach: Hassan Shehata
On the field for Spain
June 20, 2009 — Free State Stadium; Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa – Confederations Cup Group A
Spain 2 David Villa 52, Fernando Llorente 72
South Africa 0
ESP: 23-Pepe Reina; 2-Raul Albiol, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carlos Puyol (capt.), 7-David Villa (6-Pablo Hernandez, 60), 8-Xavi, 9-Fernando Torres (16-Fernando Llorente, 60), 10-Cesc Fabregas, 12-Sergio Buquets, 18-Albert Riera (20-Santi Cazorla, 81), 19-Alvaro Arbeloa
Subs not used: 1-Iker Casillas, 13-Diego Lopez, 4-Carlos Marchena, 11-Joan Capdevila, 14-Xavi Alonso, 15-Sergio Ramos, 17-Daniel Guiza, 21-David Silva, 22-Juan Manuel Mata
Head Coach: Vincente del Bosque
RSA: 16-Itulmeleng Khune; 2-Siboniso Gaxa, 3-Tsepo Mailela, 4-Aaron Mokoena (capt.), 5-Benson Mhlongo, 6-MacBeth Sibaya (21-Katlego Mashego, 83), 10-Steven Pienaar, 12-Teko Modise, 13-Kagisho Dikgacoi, 14-Matthew Booth, 17-Bernard Parker (8-Siphiwe Tshabalala, 90+)
Subs Not Used: 1-Rowen Fernandez, 22-Brian Bayoli, 7-Lance Davids, 9-Katlego Mphela, 11-Elrio van Heerden, 15-Innocent Mdledle, 18-Thembinkosi Fanteni, 19-Bryce Moone, 20-Bongani Khumalo, 23-Morgan Gold
Head Coach: Joel Santana
On the field for USA vs. Spain
June 8, 2008 – Estadio El Sardinero; Santander, Spain – International Friendly
Spain 1 Xavi Hernandez 81
USA: 1-Tim Howard (18-Brad Guzan, 46); 6-Steve Cherundolo (5-Frankie Hejduk, 46), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 12-Heath Pearce; 8-Clint Dempsey (25-Pablo Mastroeni, 86), 26-Maurice Edu, 4-Michael Bradley, 11-Eddie Lewis (16-Josh Wolff, 70); 9-Eddie Johnson, 19-Freddy Adu (7-DaMarcus Beasley, 46)
Subs not used:, 2-Dan Califf, 23-Jay DeMerit
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
ESP: 1-Iker Casillas (capt.); 11-Joan Capdevila (3-Fernando Navarro, 53), 4-Carlos Marchena, 5-Carlos Puyol, 15-Sergio Ramos; 12-Santi Cazorla, 8-Xavi Hernandez, 14-Xabi Alonso (19-Marcos Senna, 46), 21-David Silva (22-Ruben De La Red, 58); 9-Fernando Torres (17-Daniel Güiza, 46), 10-Cesc Fabregas (18-Álvaro Arbeloa, 84)
Subs not used: 23-Pepe Reina, 13-Andrés Palop; 2-Raúl Albiol, 7-David Villa, 16-Sergio Garcia, 20-Juanito
Head Coach: Luis Aragones