U.S. looks to upset BrazilIf the underdog U.S. men’s team is going to win its first FIFA final by stunning another powerhouse, the Americans know they’ll need some tough defense to go with the energy they’re suddenly showing.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — If the underdog U.S. men’s team is going to win its first FIFA final by stunning another powerhouse, the Americans know they’ll need some tough defense to go with the energy they’re suddenly showing.
The United States, still elated with its 2-0 upset of European champion Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinal, has earned a rematch Sunday with Brazil. History — even recent history — says that’s not a good matchup for the Americans.
After losing to Italy to start this tournament, the Americans were dismissed 3-0 by Brazil in their next group play match. The U.S. bounced back with a 3-0 victory over Egypt, and squeaked past Italy into the semifinals on goals scored.
“I think the first time we played Brazil we came out a bit timid,” U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra said Friday. “We almost gave them too much respect. We just went out there and sat back too much. We felt we needed to change something and the guys did a great job of coming out against Egypt with the energy from the start of the game, and I think that carried over to the Spain game.
“We tried to impose ourselves on them and make it tough for them rather than sitting back and absorbing all their pressure.”
The U.S. could look to South Africa’s performance against Brazil as a blueprint for success. While the hosts lost the other semifinal 1-0 Thursday to a late free kick from Daniel Alves, Bafana Bafana made the Brazilians look ordinary for long stretches.
“I thought South Africa did a very good job in terms of at times frustrating Brazil,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “They kept the distance between their backfield and midfield very tight so Robinho and Kaka started drifting away from those areas to try to find the ball.”