The USA, which moved back into first place ahead of Costa Rica, officially
qualified for the World Cup for the seventh straight time after Panama lost to
Honduras an hour after the final whistle of its win.
"This is a huge, huge evening for all of us," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann
said. "It's a huge milestone whenever you make it to a World Cup."
Costa Rica, which beat the U.S. 3-1 on Friday and played to a shocking draw
with Jamaica earlier Tuesday, is in second place. Honduras is currently in third
followed by Panama in fourth Mexico in fifth.
The top three CONCACAF teams qualify for next year's 32-nation competition in
Brazil, and the fourth-place finisher will play in a one-game playoff with
Oceania winner New Zealand.
"This a team that could and should play better," said Mexico head coach Luis
Fernando Tena, who took over for Jose Manuel de la Torre on Saturday. "It has to
take a step forward if we want to make it to the World Cup."
The U.S. was without arguably the region's top player, Michael Bradley, who
sat out for the second straight game with an ankle injury. Three additional
Americans also missed the match because of yellow card accumulation: forward
Jozy Altidore, midfielder Geoff Cameron and defender Matt Besler.
Ahead of the game, Klinsmann called in four additional players, including
Clarence Goodson, who started in place of Besler in central defense along with
Omar Gonzalez. Fabian Johnson shifted from midfield to the back line opposite of
left back DaMarcus Beasley. Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Donovan, Alejandro
Bedoya and lone striker Johnson filled out the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Mexico opened the match with a different feel from Friday, when the team had
a late second-half collapse at home against Honduras for its second loss in the
Hexagonal that ultimately led to the firing of De la Torre. Hours later, he was
replaced by Tena, who put star striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez back in the
starting XI despite the striker coming off a hamstring injury.
After shifting much of their lineup from the Costa Rica loss, the Americans
looked a bit unsettled after kickoff. Mexico was on the attack early, forcing
goalkeeper Tim Howard to make a diving save on an attempt from Christian Giménez
in the 18th minute for the first scoring opportunity from either side in the
But after the nervy moment, Klinsmann's men calmed down and had some chances
of their own, with both Dempsey and Donovan getting into the box for shots that
were blocked by Mexican defenders. Johnson nearly had the opener off a corner
kick in the 32nd minute, but Mexico keeper Jesus Corona saved the attempt on the
The teams entered the half scoreless. But that wouldn't last long.
Playing with a sense of urgency in front of a raucous crowd, the U.S. came
out of the locker room much like Mexico did to open the game. However, the Stars
and Stripes were able to capitalize off of their surge when Johnson used his
head to slip one into El Tri's goal.
Johnson, who has reinvented himself on the U.S. national team after rejoining
MLS last year, sneaked into the middle off a corner kick delivered by Donovan,
beat Corona to the ball and headed it in to help the Americans move one step
closer to stamping their passports for Brazil.
Later in the half, Johnson was forced to leave the game with a head injury
after taking a nasty fall on the pitch while going up for a header midway
through the second half. He was replaced by Mix Diskerud, but it turned out the
loss of the team's best offensive player on the night wouldn't cause any
For insurance, with just over 12 minutes remaining in the match, Diskerud
kept a short throw-in alive in the box and put his head up to find Donovan at
the far post to poke home the second goal of the match.
With just seconds left to play, Dempsey nearly made it an even worse night
for the visitors but he was unable to convert on a penalty kick that flew to the
right of the goal. But the mission had already been accomplished.
"We're continuing the growth of the game here in the sport, we're improving,
getting better and we've got to make sure we do well in Brazil to keep it
going," Dempsey said.
The U.S. improved to 24-0-2 in home qualifiers since losing to Honduras in
September 2001 at RFK Stadium in Washington, and is now 38-1-7 in qualifiers at
home since losing to Costa Rica in 1985.
The nation has also defeated Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium for the fourth
straight World Cup qualifier after topping its biggest rival by a scoreline of
2-0 in 2001, 2005 and 2009. The Americans increased their undefeated run at the
MLS stadium overall by winning for the seventh time to go along with two
While the U.S. fans, led by the American Outlaws supporting group, left the
party atmosphere at the stadium, El Tri left with their heads down looking for
answers. Tena may find himself out after just one game in charge as the team
would need two wins in two games for any hope of reaching the World Cup on an
“This isn’t the best moment to make decisions,” Tena said when asked if he'd
resign. “I have to analyze a lot of things.”
US wins fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title
he United States won its fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title on Sunday, defeating Panama 1-0 in the final before a crowd of 57,920 at Soldier Field. Brek Shea scored the game-winning goal in the 68th minute, just seconds after entering the game as a substitute.
It also is the first international title as a coach for Jurgen Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championship with Germany. Klinsmann was ousted for the match but it didn't seem to impact the game.
Kyle Beckerman was named the Man of the Match for his outstanding display in center midfield.
This was the 11th straight victory for the Americans, four more than their previous record, and they likely will leapfrog Mexico as the best team from CONCACAF when the next FIFA rankings come out Aug. 8.
So will the US winning streak continue? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Brazilian National Team Players doing their famous celebration dance
Brazil is a country with a rich soccer (futebol) history. All you have to say is the name Pele. Hosting the Confederations Cup and World Cup next year has greater significance for Brazil then what happens on the field. The vibrant country has a lot to prove to itself and the world. It wants to be seen as a player on the world stage, not just on the soccer field. Staggering poverty and crime are just a few of the obstacles that Brazil has to overcome but Brazilians are always optimistic about their future, both on and off the field.
The crowd at Maracana Stadium was noisy, hoping for and maybe even
anticipating a triumph by Brazil. The Selecao rewarded the fans with a
comprehensive victory over the best national team of the 21st century,
an ego-boosting 3-0 smothering of world champion Spain in the Confederations
Cup final on Sunday night.
But Brazil is focusing on the really big prize: the 2014 World Cup that it hosts
"We know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot
more difficult," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "Now we have more
confidence. That's what we needed."
In the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup final next July 14, Fred put
Brazil ahead in the second minute, Neymar doubled the lead in the 44th with his
fourth goal of the tournament and Fred added his fifth in the 47th. While there
was a crowd of 73,000 in the renovated stadium, outside protesters clashed with
riot police on the final night of the two-week prep tournament.
"Brazil has shown to the world that this is the Brazilian national team and
that we must be respected," said 21-year-old Neymar, awarded the Golden Ball as
the tournament's top player. "I think that today we had a great victory against
the best team of the world, with some of the best players in the world."
In a matchup of new and old powers, the five-time world champion defeated the
reigning world and European champion and ended Spain's 29-game, three-year
winning streak in competitive matches. Spain lost a competitive game by three
goals for the first time since a 3-0 defeat at Wales in a World Cup qualifier in
"We are happy with what we have done over the last few years," Spain coach
Vicente Del Bosque said. "But one loss — you have to look at it, but not
overreact to it. We are not content with the loss. But when a team is superior,
you have to accept it. It was a deserved defeat."
Brazil won its third straight Confederations Cup, and is unbeaten in 57
consecutive home competitive matches since 1975. Yet, no reigning
Confed Cup winner has gone on to capture the following year's World
Spain, which had not lost a competitive game since its 2010 World Cup opener
against Switzerland, had a miserable night. Sergio Ramos sent a penalty kick
wide in the 55th and defender Gerard Pique was ejected by Dutch referee Bjorn
Kuipers with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th.
"The first minutes and the last minutes of the halves are critical," Spanish
defender Cesar Azpilicueta said. "And they scored their three goals at the
beginning and ends of the halves, which is the worst time. Those are the most
Eliminated in the quarterfinals of the last two World Cups, the Selecao
entered the tournament having not played a competitive match since the 2011 Copa
America. Brazil had slipped to 22nd in the FIFA rankings, between Ghana and
Spain, ranked first for the past 20 months, is the most accomplished national
team of recent decades, winning its first World Cup in 2010 between titles in
the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.
But in the stadium where 170,000-plus watched Brazil lose to Uruguay in the
last game of the 1950 World Cup, Brazil dominated La Furia Roja.
"The champion is back," the crowd chanted.
It also didn't take long before the fans — in a sea of yellow jerseys --
started teasing the Spaniards, chanting "Wanna play, wanna play!? Brazil will
Spain had been unbeaten in 26 matches overall, including friendlies, since a
1-0 loss to England in London in 2011 and had outscored opponents 69-11 in
competitive matches since the loss to Switzerland in South Africa.
But Spain had not played Brazil since a 1999 exhibition, and they hadn't met
in a competitive match since the Selecao's 1-0 win in the first round of the
1986 World Cup in Mexico.
"We knew we were going to encounter a physical game with lots of fouling,"
Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta said. "We lost to a very strong team, and the
small details let us down."
Fred opened the scoring after a cross into the area by Hulk in the second
minute. The ball bounced off Neymar near the far post and Fred, who had fallen
while trying to reach for the cross, shot with his right foot while still on the
Brazil added to the lead after Neymar exchanged passes with Oscar and then
sent a powerful left-footed shot over goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Fred got the final goal from just inside the area, sending a low shot to the
far corner. Hulk started the move with a pass to Neymar, but the striker let it
go as Fred came running behind him.
Spain was awarded the penalty kick after Marcelo fouled Jesus Navas inside
the area. Ramos, who skied a penalty kick for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich
in the 2012 Champions League semifinals, sent this one wide.
Spain's best chance before the penalty came with Pedro Rodriguez in the 41st,
when he entered the area clear from defenders on a breakaway. His low shot beat
goalkeeper Julio Cesar, but David Luiz came rushing in and slid in front of the
goal line just in time to deflect the ball over the crossbar.
There were protests outside the stadium during the match, with police using
rubber bullets and tear gas to keep demonstrators from getting too close. A wave
of anti-government protests has swept across Brazil in recent weeks, and many
affected the Confederations Cup host cities as demonstrators complained of the
costs of hosting the World Cup.
On the field, it was a heated match from the start, with players from both
teams pushing and shoving each other a few times. Even the substitutes got into
a shouting match.
"We played a very good match," Scolari said. "It allows us to have a better
idea about the path ahead of us."
Betting on Sports is fun
Betting on stuff is fun. It makes the outcome more interesting if you have something at stake, be it Kim and Kanye's baby name or the Confederations Cup Final between two prolific teams like Brazil and Spain. Personally I'd rather bet on the game than a celebrity baby name. Best place to bet is with Prime Wagers. Right now get $100 free Betting Cash just for signing up. Click the Join Now button.
The 21-year-old Brazilian with the pseudo Mohawk recently completed a move to Barcelona, where next season he will play alongside Lionel Messi and several of the Spanish players he will face Sunday. Neymar scored in each of the team's three group matches as Brazil went 3-0 and he played a part in both Selecao goals in the 2-1 semifinal win over Uruguay. More pressure will be on him to perform not just on Sunday, but next year as Brazil tries to win its sixth World Cup title.
The final will be played at one of the most famous soccer venues in the world, which also will host the World Cup final on July 13 next year. Once one of the largest stadiums in the world, Maracana hosted the final match of the 1950 World Cup, which FIFA says drew 173,850 and other sources list at up to 199,854. Uruguay rallied with a pair of goals in the last 30 minutes to beat Brazil 2-1 and win its second world title, leaving the Selecao still searching for a first. The stadium, which was built ahead of that World Cup and is owned by the state government, is officially named Mario Filho Stadium, after a famous Brazilian journalist. It has been remodeled and now has a capacity of about 78,000.
Almost any time you watch Spain, you're watching soccer at its best. After years of underachieving, La Furia Roja won
the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, the first team to win those three major
titles in succession. Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta dominate midfield play, and Spain almost always has a huge advantage in possession with the ''tiki-taka'' style taken from Barcelona. With Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso recovering from back surgery, coach Vicente del Bosque has switched to a formation similar to Barcelona's 4-3-3.
Brazil playing at home
Brazil invented ''O Joga Bonito (The Beautiful Game).'' Ever since Brazil was awarded the right to host the 2014
World Cup six years ago, there has been a huge amount of pressure on the team. And the Confederations Cup final will serve as a big test to see if the young team is ready to unseat Spain.
Preparing for the World Cup
The Confederations Cup is designed to test six of the 12 stadiums to be used for next year's tournament along with
airports and transportation systems. Sunday's final can be used as an introduction to the big event, the 32-nation spectacle next year.
120 minutes of regular time and extra time had passed and the Confederations Cup semifinal match between Spain and Italy remained deadlocked at 0-0. The two teams went to penalties. For fans of the two countries, anxiety was building up like a hurricane. This is the time to start saying your prayers.
Candreva made a penalty for Italy, then Xavi made for Spain, and both teams kept making the penalties, and kept making the penalties…on and on. Eventually, Italy’s Bonucci, a central defender who has probably taken four spot kicks in his entire life, missed one over the bar. Spain’s Jesus Navas stepped up and finished, sending his country to the Confederations Cup Final, where they will face up against host Brazil on Sunday.