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History of the U.S. Men's National Team in the Confederations Cup


Previous Tournaments: 1992, 1999, 2003
Overall Record: 4-5-1 (12 GF, 11 GA)
Best finish: Third place (1992, 1999)

What is now known as the FIFA Confederations Cup began as the King Fahd Cup, or Intercontinental Championship, a small tournament in Saudi Arabia with four teams, each the champion of its confederation. As winners of the 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the U.S. received an invitation to the first-ever event along with Argentina, Ivory Coast and the hosts.

Since then, the tournament has gone through major changes. In 1997, FIFA took the reigns and turned it into an eight-team tournament held every two years between 1997 and 2005. In its current form, the tournament is held once every four years as a precursor to the FIFA World Cup. The host of the following year's World Cup holds the Confederations Cup to give the stadium and infrastructure a 'dry run'.

The U.S. has participated three times, in the inaugural event in 1992, 1999 in Mexico and 2003 in France. Holding an overall record of 4-5-1 with 12 goals for and 11 against, the Americans have advanced to the semifinals twice and went on to win the third-place match both times.

Below is a recap of the USA’s results at the Confederations Cup in 1992, 1999 and 2003, and a look ahead to the 2009 tournament in South Africa.

Saudi Arabia 1992
Teams: USA, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast, Argentina
U.S. Record: 1-1-0
U.S. Finish: Third place
Champions: Argentina
Runner-up: Saudi Arabia

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Mark Dodd, Tony Meola
DEFENDERS (4): Paul Caliguiri, Fernando Clavijo, Michael Lapper, Jean Michilak
MIDFIELDERS (9): Marcelo Balboa, John de Brito, John Harkes, Chris Henderson, Cobi Jones, Dominic Kinnear, Hugo Perez, Brian Quinn, Tab Ramos
FORWARDS (5): Bruce Murray, Jean Harbor, Peter Vermes, Roy Wegerle, Eric Wynalda

Matches

Saudi Arabia 3, USA 0
Oct. 15, 1992

The U.S. has the distinction of playing in the first ever game of the Confederations Cup, which was then the Intercontinental Championship where teams competed for the King Fahd Cup. On Oct. 15, 1992, the U.S. faced Saudi Arabia for the first time ever, and unfortunately gave up the first goal in tournament history in the 48th minute of the opening game. In front of 70,000 home fans at the American’s first and only trip to the Middle-Eastern country, Saudi Arabia went on to win 3-0.

USA 5, Ivory Coast 2
Oct. 19, 1992

With only four teams participating in the King Fahd Cup, the U.S. moved on to the third-place game against Ivory Coast while Saudi Arabia advanced to the final against Argentina. Led by two goals from Bruce Murray and single goals from Marcelo Balboa, Cobi Jones and Eric Wynalda, the Americans topped Ivory Coast 5-2 to take third place in the first-ever Intercontinental Championship. That was the first, and to this day only, match between the senior national teams of the USA and Ivory Coast. Argentina went on to defeat Saudi Arabia in the final to claim the inaugural title.


Mexico 1999
Group A: Bolivia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
Group B: Brazil, USA, Germany, New Zealand
U.S. Record: 3-1-1
U.S. Finish: Third place
Champions: Mexico
Runner-up: Brazil

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS(2): Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller
DEFENDERS (8): Jeff Agoos, Gregg Berhalter, C.J. Brown, Robin Fraser, Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Llamosa, Matt McKeon, Earnie Stewart
MIDFIELDERS (6): Marcelo Balboa, John Harkes, Cobi Jones, Eddie Lewis, Ben Olsen, Richard Williams
FORWARDS (4): Paul Bravo, Jovan Kirovski, Brian McBride, Joe-Max Moore

Matches

USA 2, New Zealand 1
July 24, 1999

The U.S. opened its 1999 campaign against New Zealand in the unfriendly confines of Mexico. In one of the best-attended Confederations Cups in history, the U.S. knocked off New Zealand behind goals from Brian McBride and Jovan Kirovski in front of 60,000 fans. New Zealand was able to steal a second-half stoppage time goal to finish the game by a 2-1 score in then-manager Bruce Arena's first major international tournament.

Brazil 1, USA 0
July 28, 1999

The U.S. then found themselves up against Brazil, who had advanced to the FIFA World Cup final the year before. Through a tough battle and a tight game, the U.S. fell 1-0 behind a 13th minute header from Ronaldinho. Kasey Keller, who was splitting time in goal during the tournament with Brad Freidel, put up a stellar performance against the Selecao, but the U.S. could not find the equalizer.

USA 2, Germany 0
July 30, 1999

Needing a result from its final group game to advance, the U.S. went into the match against Germany with conviction. The Americans scored on either side of halftime - Ben Olsen in the 23rd minute and Joe-Max Moore in the 50th - to earn the victory and advance to the semifinals while knocking Germany out of the tournament.

Semifinal
Mexico 1, USA 0
August 1, 1999

By advancing to the semifinals in 1999, the U.S. earned a battle with regional rival and tournament host Mexico. With 82,000 people serving as the "12th Man" in the famed Estadio Azteca, the U.S. defense held strong and kept the game scoreless through 90 minutes and sent it into a Golden Goal overtime. Seven minutes into the extra period, Cuautemoc Blanco lifted Mexico with a goal that put them into the final. Brazil had the difficult task of facing Mexico before a sell-out crowd of 110,000 home supporters in the final. An exciting and offensive-minded affair saw the two teams exchange goals throughout before Mexico eventually won 4-3.
 
Third Place Match
USA 2, Saudi Arabia 0
August 3, 1999

Though the U.S. was coming off of an emotional loss to Mexico, Saudi Arabia had lost its semifinal match 8-2 to Brazil by giving up six unanswered goals to end the game. The Americans were able to avenge their 1992 loss to Saudi Arabia with a 2-0 win as Paul Bravo and Brian McBride scored for U.S. while Brad Friedel was between the pipes to earn the shutout. The third-place finish matched the United States' placement in the '92 event.
 

France 2003
Group A: New Zealand, France, Japan, Colombia
Group B: Cameroon, Turkey, Brazil, USA
U.S. Record: 0-2-1
U.S. Finish: Seventh place
Champions: France
Runner-up: Cameroon

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Joe Cannon, Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard
DEFENDERS (8): Gregg Berhalter, Carlos Bocanegra, Danny Califf, Steve Cherundolo, Corey Gibbs, Frankie Hejduk, Earnie Stewart, Greg Vanney
MIDFIELDERS (7): Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Chris Klein, Eddie Lewis, Kyle Martino, Pablo Mastroeni
FORWARDS (5): Jeff Cunningham, Landon Donovan, Jovan Kirovski, Clint Mathis, Taylor Twellman

Matches
Turkey 2, USA 1
June 19, 2003

The U.S. was coming off one of its best-ever performances at a FIFA World Cup in 2002 and was looking to continue its form in the 2003 Confederations Cup in France. The U.S. opened play against Turkey and took the lead on a 36th minute goal from DaMarcus Beasley, who headed in a perfectly placed cross from Landon Donovan. The lead did not last long, however, as Turkey leveled the score just minutes later with a successful penalty kick conversion. In the second half, Tuncay Sanli gave Turkey a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.

Brazil 1, USA 0
June 21, 2003

After opening the tournament with a loss, the American side knew that it needed a result against Brazil to have a chance to advance out of the first round. When the two teams met in 1999, it was an early Ronaldinho header that held up as the game-winner, but this time an Adriano breakaway after a defensive miscue finish proved to be the difference. Adriana stripped a U.S. defender of the ball and was in alone on Tim Howard, who saved the initial shot but gave up just enough of a rebound to allow Adriano to finish the play. The Brazilian went on to win the Golden Boot in the tournament.

USA 0, Cameroon 0
June 23, 2003

With two losses in the opening two games, the third match was rendered virtually meaningless but the Americans still put up a good fight. Coming up against a tough Cameroon side that would eventually finish second in the tournament, the game was evenly matched throughout and neither team was able to break through for a goal. Cameroon advanced to the semifinals as the group winners, but their success was overshadowed by the death of midfielder Marc-VivienFoe, who suffered a heart attack during the semifinal win. Though France defeated the Africans via a Golden Goal in the final, the defining image of the tournament came when the two team captains held up the championship trophy together in honor of Foe.
 

South Africa 2009
Group A: Italy, Brazil, USA, Egypt
Group B: Iraq, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Luis Robles
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Danny Califf, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce, Jonathan Spector, Marvell Wynne
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, José Francisco Torres
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore, Conor Casey, Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan


The U.S. is entering its fourth FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009, having earned its berth to South Africa by winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. You might remember that day at Soldier Field – the U.S. was down a goal to rival Mexico until Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick in the 60th minute. In the 73rd, Benny Feilhaber introduced himself to the world with one of the most famous goals in U.S. Men’s National Team history to help the Americans to a 2-1 victory.

Two years later, the work the U.S. did in that tournament has come to fruition as they are representing the region in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. The eight-team FIFA Confederations Cup includes the champions of all five confederations along with host South Africa and reigning World Cup champion Italy.

The U.S. was drawn into a difficult group for the tournament alongside Italy, five-time World Cup champions Brazil and African Cup of Nations champion Egypt. The other group features European champion Spain, Asian champions Iraq, Oceania winners New Zealand and host South Africa.

The U.S. kicks off Confederation Cup action against defending World Cup champion Italy on June 15 at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria (ESPN, 2:25 p.m. ET), and then faces Brazil on June 18 in the same venue (ESPN2, 9:55 a.m. ET). The United States finishes group play on June 21 against Egypt at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg (ESPN2 2:25 p.m. ET). All 16 matches of the tournament will be available in high definition on the ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD. Fans can also follow all the USA’s matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
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