U.S. shock Spain to reach Confederations final

Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:41pm EDT
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By Mike Collett

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) - United States scored their greatest win for almost 60 years by beating European champions Spain 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the final of the Confederations Cup.

Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey ended Spain's world record run of 15 successive victories and their 35-match unbeaten sequence, a world record streak they share with Brazil, and caused one of the biggest soccer upsets in years.

However, the match ended in bitter-sweet agony for U.S. coach Bob Bradley when his son Michael, who had a brilliant game in midfield, was sent off three minutes from time.

He was the third U.S. player sent off in the tournament and now misses Sunday's final against Brazil or hosts South Africa.

Overall though it was the best performance by the U.S. since they beat England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.

It was also the first time the U.S. had beaten a team ranked number one in FIFA's world rankings since they defeated Brazil in 1998.

The result was even more remarkable because the U.S. had lost their opening two group matches in the competition and were heading out until they beat Egypt 3-0 on Sunday and Brazil sank Italy by the same score as they squeezed through on the number of goals scored.

The fact the Americans are now in the final is testimony to their grit, determination and battling qualities in denying Spain time and space in midfield and up front.   Continued...

<p>Jozy Altidore of the U.S. (R) celebrates with team mate Charlie Davies after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup semi-final soccer match against Spain at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, June 24, 2009. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen</p>