Liveblogging: FIFA Confederations Cup Final

At full time: A tale of two halves. The US got the early goal in the first 45 and dictated the pace. In the second, Brazil struck first and built the momentum from there.  ESPN guys called the match a “reverse microcosm” of their tournament run, and it was true. They started out great and ran out of gas against a deeper, more experienced, and more skilled side. Brazil giveth, and then taketh away.

There should be no shame in the US game, especially with their recovery from the earlier struggles in the tournament. They were lucky to get through group play, beat the vaunted No. 1 Spaniards on merit in the semifinal, and gave the Brazilian side its money’s worth in the final. They let Brazil off the hook, but Brazil is a great team.

Landon Donovan’s post-game comment is a good one: “We don’t want respect, we want to win.” Importantly, the US got to their first FIFA tournament final, and had a 2-nil lead at the half. Can’t win championships if you don’t get to the final, so this is a good and important thing for US Soccer. And in consolation, Yankee keeper Tim Howard won the adidas Golden Glove as goalkeeper of the tournament, and (a visibly dejected) Clint Dempsey won the adidas Bronze Ball (as third place finisher in the Golden Ball voting of the tournament).

The hope is that Team USA truly builds successfully on this experience. The history of the US Soccer mens’ national team is full of fits and starts, false building blocks, and so many learning experiences at the hands (or feet) of sides like Brazil. Let’s hope that the US men make similar runs in the CONCACAF Gold Cup next month and the FIFA World Cup next year. Team USA didn’t enter the Confed Cup as a soccer superpower, and they won’t leave as one, but they can be a good team on its way to becoming a better team, and maybe someday a great team.

4:22: Full time. Brazil takes the Confederations Cup from a scrappy US team.

4:20: Brazil settles into a possession game. US not able to regain the ball.

4:19: Donovan serves but too far for Dempsey. Stoppage time 3 minutes.

4:16: US with a corner. Casey in for Clark. Set piece…Onyewu MISSES with a header!

4:14: Desperation time. Four minutes left for Team USA to get the equalizer.

4:13: That’s why they’re Brazil. A set piece by Brazil from the right corner is headed in by Lucio. 3-2 Brazil.

4:11: Kaka denied to Howard’s right, Robinho follows up with a blast off the mark.

4:10: Bornstein wide left with an off-balance shot for the US.

4:08: Donovan free-kick nearly cashed in by Dempsey but Julio Cesar grabs it cleanly.

4:06: The Brazilian pressure finally finds success. US really needs to settle down and get going.

4:03: Luis Fabiano connects on a rebound, all locked up now. US defense caught standing around in the box while Fabiano heads in the second Brazilian mark. Second in the match for Fabiano.

3:59: DeMerit blunts another attack by Brazil, and Howard erases a rare mistake by Onyewu.

3:59: Lucio yellow-carded for foul on Altidore.

3:58: Maicon and Ramires out, Alves and Elano in for Brazil.

3:56: Spector defuses a Brazilian counter-rush. Strong defense thus far by Jonathan Spector.

3:55: Dempsey with a left foot strike, Julio Cesar with another stop.

3:54: Donovan with a right foot strike, right on is Julio Cesar.

3:53: Maicon with a dangerous service but offside. The USA need to tilt the field back towards Julio Cesar.

3:51: Diving header by Onyewu to clear out a Brazil service.

3:49: Save Howard? Kaka clanks the crossbar? But Howard cleans it up. Replays look to Brazil’s favor but the referee rules no goal. Inconclusive in my opinion but looks oh-so-close.

3:47: Spector with a clean tackle on an attacking Kaka. Corner to Brazil, Howard makes a great stop on Lucio’s header.

3:43: Good defensive header by Altidore on the free kick.

3:42: Dempsey’s pocket picked and the US attack broke down.

3:37: In the first half, the US was strong at the defensive 18, but the Fabiano goal came with a slack presence by the Americans at the 18 (and a beautiful turn by Fabiano). Need to settle down and get back to putting pressure on the Brazilians.

3:35: Just like that, Fabiano cuts the lead in half. 2-1 US.

3:34: Here we go with the 2nd. USA! USA! USA!

At the half: Clint Dempsey’s mark at ten minutes was heard ’round the world, and it gave the USA some breathing room as they weathered the expected barrage from the Brazilians. Jonathan Spector’s service to Clint Dempsey was clean, and Dempsey smoothly tipped it with a roundhouse right foot past Julio Cesar’s right side. Dempsey’s brilliant goal was matched by a great counterattack and rush by Charlie Davies, who delivered a perfect centering pass to Landon Donovan, who calmly cashed it in at the 26th minute.  2-0 USA, who have so far denied Kaka and Robinho’s attempts at snapping the cords behind Tim Howard. Tim Howard has been strong in goal, and will need to be just as good if not better if the USA wants to fly home with the grand prize.

3:20: Orange slices time. USA halfway to a second straight world-shocker. They go into the locker room up 2-0 on the mighty Brazilians.

3:19: US dodges a bullet with an stoppage-time cross deflected away safely.

3:16: Strong defense by the US again, holding their ground in front of the 18.

3:14: Howard with another stop on Robinho!

3:11: Davies’ attack muted by Brazil. Brazil counterattack ruled offside.

3:10: Donovan follow-up corner kick is snapped up by the keeper.

3:09: Cleared away by Brazil.

3:09: Santos shown the yellow after getting owned by Jozy Altidore. Donovan with the free kick…

3:07: Robinho with a sublime feed to Santos, but Howard makes a point-blank stop!

3:02: Team USA is the model of efficiency in the Brazil half, but you know Brazil is going to ratchet up their pressure. Americans need to stay together on defense and continue to pressure the Brazilians.

3:00: DONOVAN! GOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!! US turns back Brazil, Davies with a fantastic service to Donovan, Landon Donovan finishes with the left foot. 2-nil USA!

2:59: Maicon with a sweet baseline cross, but Howard is right on.

2:57: Brazil applying excellent pressure but Felipe Melo is booked after his blast is denied by Tim Howard.

2:54: Robinho cross into USA box swept out by Onyewu cleanly.

2:51: Carlos Bocanegra shown yellow card for the USA, yeah, it was a hold.

2:50: Altidore draws free-kick, Landon Donovan serves to the Brazil box but cleaned away.

2:48: Kaka denied by the US defense, Clark sweeps out the debris.

2:46: Charlie Davies with a foray into the Brazil box. Corner kick USA.

2:45: Tim Howard with a big save on Robinho!


2:40: Kaka misses header attempt on corner kick for Brazil. Early set pieces to Brazil, USA needs to spend some time in the Brazil half.

2:38: Service to the box by Brazil, headed away by DeMerit for USA. Altidore wins Brazil’s corner kick and clears.

2:35: Brazil in their familiar yellow and blue kit, Team USA in white. Light pressure applied by both teams. Team USA needs to be lucky and good like they were against Spain in the semifinal.

2:30: United States of America v. Brazil

First FIFA tournament final for Team USA! Let’s go!


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