*Confederations Cup Final: U.S. vs. Brazil, live on ESPNHD, ESPN360.com, and ESPN Mobile TV, Sunday, June 28, beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET with a pregame show
Following are highlights from this week’s 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup on ESPN:
The anatomy of a global soccer upset
In the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup semifinal in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Wednesday, U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team beat No.1-ranked Spain 2-0, an upset victory that ranks amongst the biggest in U.S. Soccer’s 73-year history. Previous U.S. marquee victories: versus Columbia (2-1) in the 1994 World Cup, Brazil in the 1998 Gold Cup (1-0) and Portugal (3-2) in the 2002 World Cup
The win at Bloemfontein’s Free State Stadium vaulted the U.S. Men’s Team to its first title match in one of the three major FIFA events – FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup, and FIFA U-20 World Cup. Sunday, June 28, the U.S. Team (ranked No. 15) will play No. 5-ranked Brazil in the title match live on ESPN, ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV at 2:25 p.m. from Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Lalas and Harkes on U.S. Team’s Victory:
ESPN soccer analysts John Harkes and Alexi Lalas, both former U.S. National Team players, discuss the U.S. Team’s win.
On the team: “The U.S. Team has performed the unexpected. They love to make headlines.”
On what fans should think about the victory: “I don’t think you can ask for anything better than that. You’re playing against the Number 1 team in the world, you upset them in the semifinal, you win two-nil, you break up the winning streak from them. All over the world, teams are trying to beat Spain, and the U.S. ends up doing it. That’s an excellent thing to cling to. Whenever you are preparing for the World Cup, you always want that optimism surrounding the national side. You also look for a little bit of hope, and today they showed a glimmer of hope.”
Confederations Cup Final prediction:
U.S. vs. Brazil: 1-1 (U.S. win in shoot outs) – “Tim Howard comes out the big hero.”
On the team: “This is not just a win. This is a message that you’re sending around the world and to U.S. soccer fans that you can compete at the highest level against the world’s elite, and more importantly, coming off of a month where there were some questions about whether this team had the right heart, spirit and ability to battle.
“This was a day to be proud of if you’re a U.S. soccer fan, and a day to be inspired and optimistic and confident that next summer some good things can happen.”
Prediction: “They (U.S. Team) have a chance of winning. A final is a final, anything can happen.”
ESPN Radio’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd on the U.S. Victory
ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd discussed the U.S. Team’s victory and its impact in multiple segments today. Click here to listen:
Highlights of ESPN’s coverage:
The U.S. victory led the news, highlights and analysis on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter including on-set analysis by studio analyst Alexi Lalas, featuring “ESPN Axis” virtual replay technology.
In-game Highlights Captured by ESPN:
27th minute: Against the backdrop of facing Spain, which had not conceded a goal in their last five matches, U.S. forward Jozy Altidore uses his strength, turns on a Spanish defender clinging to his back, and frees himself inside the box for a shot,deflected slightly by Spain’s goalkeeper on its way into the goal – U.S. 1 – 0
Brazil vs. South Africa:
After a brilliant and gutsy performance by South Africa’s National Team (ranked No. 77) in Johannesburg, the Bafana Bafana lost 0-1 to No. 5 Brazil on a late goal from a free kick in the 88th minute by defender Danny Alves.
Alexi Lala on the “vuvuzela”
During halftime segments of the Brazil vs. South Africa match, Lalas blew the vuvuzela, the noisy trumpet, which has dominated the sound waves around the stadiums during the Confederations Cup, and has generated a lot of “buzz” and media attention in South Africa and beyond.