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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Estados Unidos 2, España 0

EEUU Baja a España de la Nube -Levanter (USA brings Spain down from the cloud)
EEUU Acaba con el Sueño de España – El País (US ends Spain’s dream)
La Roja Recibe una Cura de Humildad ante EEUU – Super Deporte (The Red gets a dose of humility from the US)
Los Defensos Unidos de América - Levante (The united defenses of America)

Only that last headline really tells it like it happened. I have never seen Spain so stymied by a defense as they were last night in South Africa against the US national team. One of the guys I was watching the game with said it right when he said that every time Spain takes a shot there is a damn American right in his way. The US scored on two defensive errors, one in each half. Spain had no answer although they pounded the American defense and controlled possession for a big part of the match. Capdevila let Jozy Altidore (teammates at Villarreal up the road from me at Castelló de la Plana) get in front of him with only Casillas between the ball and the goal. Later Sergio Ramos thought he was controlling the ball in front of his goal when Clint Dempsey (Fulham) stole it and scored.

The two goals and superb goalkeeping by Tim Howard gave the US their first FIFA tournament final since starting play in 1916. I would like to see just one more miracle. Brazil would be a nice win and a sure way for the US to get a break on their group in the World Cup draw next summer.

After the game I couldn't resist sending a text message to all my friends here: U-S-A, U-S-A. I had to do a text message; I don't have a car to drive around in while I honk the horn.

For the final on Saturday night it will be Brazil and the USA. This comes after a very uninspired win by Brazil against the host South Africa. Dani Alves (formerly from Sevilla and this year with Barça) came in very late in the game and scored a free kick, much to the disappointment of everyone else in the bar except the one American. The Spanish were hoping to at least salvage something from their loss by playing Brazil for third place. They will have to settle for South Africa. Everyone gave their support for the USA in the final. They also told me that at least they weren’t beat by Italy. One of the patrons accused Obama of fixing the tournament in our favor. I told him that I thought that made sense. Beating Spain outright certainly defies logic.

I hear a lot of conservatives in America talk about how the rest of the world is so anti-American. I have never witnessed this first-hand, quite the opposite, in fact. I have noticed a lot of anti-Italian sentiment, all of it stemming from their national football team that plays a boring brand of soccer. The USA doesn’t play the most exciting game I have ever seen but that is simply because they lack the overall talent of teams like Spain and Brazil. If Brazil plays as rudderless on Saturday as they did against South Africa we may see yet another miracle this week.