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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
If the World Cup is anything like this, we're all in for a treat. You could always sense that the destiny of the Confederations Cup would be determined by the identity of the Brazil team that turned up. If it was the Brazil who lethargically struggled past South Africa, then the USA would strike a blow for the underdogs. If it was the Brazil who battered the Americans in the group stages before feasting on Italy, then this would be a one-sided affair. No-one had any idea that Senor Jekyll and Senor Hyde were both in attendence, one for each half.

Bob Bradley's side have a touch of the Allardyce-era Bolton about them and, believe it or not, that's meant to be a compliment. At the back, they are truly formidable. Oguchi Onyewu, once of Newcastle, and Jay DeMerit, still somehow of Watford, are big, strong and unforgiving. They hold their lines well and break with speed and class, especially when they feed the excellent Landon Donovan in the middle. Clint Dempsey served notice of American intentions after just ten minutes, spinning to volley a loose shot past Julio Cesar. Brazil tried to regain control of the game, but they did it amateurishly and with little backbone. Just before the half-hour, the Americans struck again through their captain Donovan, and a shock of seismic proportions seemed likely.

But whatever Dunga said at half-time, I sincerely hope that someone made a copy of it. This enigmatic side will almost certainly need rescuing again at some point next summer. They took to the pitch after the break with real intent and desire. Luis Fabiano span on a sixpence to crash home a goal within sixty seconds of the restart. Robinho may have the tricks, but you'd always prefer to have Fabiano in your side. The Sevilla striker is a traditional target-man, good in the air, good on the ground, clinical from short-range, dangerous from distance. A nice stepover is always fun to watch, but when you want to actually win football games, you need a Fabiano ahead of a Robinho.

The USA tried desperately to keep pace with their opponents, but they were always chasing shadows. The Brazilian onslaught intensified. They should have been level when the linesman incorrectly concluded that Tim Howard had kept Kaka's header from crossing the line. They were level with fifteen minutes to go when Kaka tore down the flank and lofted the ball into the box. Robinho headed against the bar from close range, but Fabiano was on hand to mop up. After that, it was only a matter of time.

A visibly upset Bradley told reporters afterwards that he felt, "lousy," but he should feel nothing but pride. In this kind of form, with their tails up, there are few sides who could cope with Brazil. The US did everything right, they played to the limit of their abilities, but it just wasn't enough and, in a funny kind of way, it never seemed like it would be. Elano, whose set-pieces have been first class in this last fortnight, swung a corner in to the American box and Lucio outjumped an exhausted Dempsey to power home a fully-deserved winner.

You can read an awful lot into a trophy presentation. This one taught us that Sepp Blatter is a greedy so-and-so who begrudges sharing the limelight with anyone, national leader or not, but then we suspected that anyway. What we didn't know was how much this obviously meant to the Brazilian footballers, which is why their long periods of ineptitude are so confusing. If Dunga can ever get some consistency out of this squad, then there's nothing they can't do, especially with Fabiano on hand to deliver the goals. Unfortunately, I fear the curse of the Confederations Cup will rear up again. No winner has ever gone on to lift the World Cup and, as enjoyable as this fightback was, I just can't see that changing next summer.
 

ShrimperChris

First XI
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
391
Having watched bits and bobs of the Confederations Cup, I have decided that Lionel Messi is the clear leader in the best player in the world stakes. During the final, Kaka, for all his good touches and accurate passing, didnt seem to really do very much. Granted he produced some magic for the equaliser but ultimately I though he was fairly unproductive, especially for a player Madrid have just paid in excess of £60m for.

As for Ronaldo, while he is capable of exceptional moments of skill and on his day can annihilate almost any team single handedly, this is very much that - on his day when he feels like it. The Champions League final is a case in point. I barely noticed him after the 15th minute.

Messi on the other hand, although had quiet games against Chelsea, stood up and was counted against Man Utd. I have never once seen him disgrace himself with childish acts of petulance and always gets his head down and performs his role for the good of the team. When I have seen him, he uses the ball productively as well as being a major goal threat.

As for the Confed Cup final, how heartbreaking for the USA to lose the game so late. A fantastic effort by them throughout the tournament. Just one question though: Where was Freddy Adu? I thought he was one of the more talented players the USA have at their disposal?
 
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