Alves strikes late on

June 25, 2009

350px-Brazil_v_Exeter_City_(1914)
“Substitute Daniel Alves broke South African hearts with an 87th-minute free-kick for Brazil that dumped the hosts out of the Confederations Cup with a narrow semi-final victory in Johannesburg. The Barcelona right-back, who only came on for the closing stages of the game, smashed in a powerful 18-yard set-piece from the left to stun the huge crowd at the Ellis Park Stadium after their side had performed impressively for most parts of the game.” (ESPN)

Brazil survives South Africa on late free kick, reaches Confed Cup final (SI)
” Daniel Alves scored with two minutes left Thursday to give a lackluster Brazil a 1-0 win over South Africa and a place in the Confederations Cup final against the United States. South Africa had unsettled Brazil with a frantic hustling game of quick challenges and tight marking, but the substitute defender curled in a shot from the edge of the area to give his team a chance of a record third title after Ramires tumbled right on the edge of the area under a challenge from South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena.”

Santana in attack-mode for Brazil (Africa Soccer Union)
“If South Africa play as well as their coach Joel Santana talks then Brazil are in for a hiding in Thursday’s Confederations Cup semifinal. The Brazilian was in loquacious form at the eve of match press conference at Ellis Park on Wednesday, handling questions as deftly as a seasoned politician.”

Alves scores late as Brazil knocks out host (Associated Press)
“Just call Daniel Alves the spoiler. Alves scored the only goal on a free kick with just two minutes left at the Confederations Cup on Thursday, sending Brazil into the final against the surprising United States and ending host South Africa’s upset bid.”

Dani Alves v South Africa (101 Great Goals)

Parreira treads a diplomatic line (FIFA)
“”It’s not as if my loyalties are divided, but let’s just say I’m going to be neutral.” As those words suggest, former Brazil and South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is trying hard not to show his allegiance to A Seleção ahead of their FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final meeting with the tournament hosts.”

Felipe Melo playing it cool (FIFA)
“Until very recently, the name of Felipe Melo barely figured in the world’s sports pages. During several seasons in Spain, the Brazil international turned out for largely unfashionable sides and his chances of appearing in competitions such as the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 looked remote.”

Soccer Tries to Bring Unity in South African Sports (Bloomberg)
“Sports remain a question of color in South Africa, a year before the country hosts the soccer World Cup. Soccer is the game of the black majority, with cricket and rugby favored by whites, who make up about 9 percent of the country’s 40 million inhabitants. The government and sports officials are trying to broaden that support to help the national team and fill seats in the stadiums.”


Spain 0 – 2 United States

June 25, 2009

“The United States stunned top-ranked Spain 2-0 Wednesday night on goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, advancing to the Confederations Cup final with one of the Americans’ biggest soccer victories. Altidore scored in the 27th minute and Dempsey added a goal in the 74th as the Americans became the first team to defeat Spain since Romania in November 2006.” (ESPN)

Spain 0 – 2 United States: The Gift Outright (The Run of Play)
“They didn’t play like green-eyed soldiers of beauty, but this wasn’t Chelsea taking tire irons to Barcelona, either. Especially in the first half, before the fatigue and stress started plinking their way up the keyboard, they had some attacking intent. I’d assumed the tactical thinking would be that the easiest way not to lose to the world’s best midfield would be to avoid the midfield entirely, but during the great 25-odd-minute spell leading up to Altidore’s goal, they somehow found space to exploit, kept possession, and actually dribbled at Spain rather than rainbowing rockets over them.” 

Spain 0-2 USA (BBC)
“USA caused one of the biggest surprises in Confederations Cup history by beating European champions Spain to reach Sunday’s final. Jozy Altidore scored the opener when he turned his marker Joan Capdevila to fire in from 15 yards. Fulham’s Clint Dempsey doubled the lead in the second half when he converted Landon Donovan’s pass from close range.”

Americans Stun Spain and Gain Final (NYT)
“A surprise advance to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup seemed to awaken the United States’ belief in itself. Previous caution strengthened into assertiveness Wednesday as the Americans earned one of their greatest victories, a startling 2-0 win over Spain, the world’s top-ranked soccer team.”

United States beats Spain 2-0 (seattle pi)
“The United States stunned top-ranked Spain 2-0 Wednesday night on goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, advancing to the Confederations Cup final with one of the Americans’ biggest soccer victories. Altidore scored in the 27th minute and Dempsey added a goal in the 74th as the Americans became the first team to defeat Spain since Romania in November 2006.”

Confederations Cup Live Blog: Spain 0-2 United States (SI)
“It is finished. Spain’s 35-match unbeaten streak ends on a frigid night in Bloemfontein, where the United States men’s national team has engineered an improbable 2-0 upset of the reigning European champions. Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey have given the United States its most improbable upset since tipping England in the 1950 World Cup.”