Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Confederations Cup? Ah, Warm Memories of South Africa 2009

June 22nd, 2017 · No Comments · Fifa, Football, soccer, Spain

It was the biggest week in U.S. national soccer history.

The 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.

In this order:

(And we are not messing with you here; this actually happened.)

U.S. 3, Egypt 0

U.S. 2, Spain 0 (!)

U.S. 2, Brazil 0 — at halftime of the championship match.

It ended Brazil 3, U.S. 2

I was watching the 2017 Confederations Cup on Fox, this week, and recalling when the U.S. tended to represent North America at this quadrennial tournament … only to watch Mexico take over in 2013 and 2017. (Thanks Jurgen; the gift that keeps on giving.)

And eventually I thought back to the 2009 tournament, when the Americans came as close as they are likely to get (in our lifetimes) to winning a Fifa global championship.

Let’s return to those glory days of yesteryear.

I was paying close attention as this went along. I had covered this team earlier in the year, at the Concacaf hexagonal match at El Salvador.

The Confederations Cup started badly. A 3-1 loss to Italy. Not unexpected, but the Yanks were in immediate trouble in the eight-team, two-group competition.

Things got darker after a 3-0 loss to Brazil. About the only thing to be said about it was that, when Egypt shocked Italy 1-0, the U.S. still had a chance to finish second and reach the semifinals.

It was beyond unlikely, of course, considering the U.S. had no points and was minus-5 in goal differential. Italy and Egypt each had three points and the former was at plus-1 and the latter was at 0.

So, the “easiest” scenario the Americans needed to advance required them to defeat Egypt by at least three goals … while Brazil defeated Italy by at least three goals, and the chances of that were not worth calculating, as unlikely as it was.

But then it happened: U.S. 3-0, Brazil 3-0 and the U.S. finishes ahead of the three-way tie for second, beating Egypt minus-2 to minus-3 in goal differential and Italy (also on minus-2) 4-3 in goals scored.

So, the reward was a semifinal match with Spain, the best team in the world at the time.

That’s where we pick up with the U.S. winning 2-0, ending Spain’s record unbeaten streak of 35 matches.

I live-blogged the match here. And did a match report here.

Then, for the final, versus Brazil, I repeated that pattern. The play-by-play here. The match report here.

Those were heady times for the U.S. men. They did not last long, and it didn’t put the U.S. on some sort of higher plane of soccer existence, but it brought a significant amount of attention to the Yanks, beating Spain, especially.

We have had nothing remotely like it, since then, and it will not happen in Russia over the next 10 days, either — given that Mexico is there, and the Americans are not.

But we will always have 2009!


0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment