Thursday, June 25, 2009

Media Roundup USA 2 - 0 Spain: Biggest or Most Important?

Huge, monumental, enormous, historic victory by the US over Spain yesterday in the Confederations Cup semifinal. It actually is registering widely in the mainstream sports media in the US. Most of the pieces try to properly gauge the place of win in the annals of US soccer history. Is it the most important win ever? Is it the biggest win ever?

It is hard to tell, but it certainly ranks right up there with the other big wins (England 1950, Colombia 1994, Brazil 1998, Portugal 2002, Mexico 2002). Winning over the presumptive number one team in the world in FIFA International tournament in a knockout stage is very impressive, although the Confederations Cup is certainly not as prestigious as the World Cup, but it is probably the second or third best tournament it can hope to enter (depends on where you rank the Copa America).

The importance of this match will not be known today or tomorrow, rather it will be known in ten years, after we can observe the response of US soccer to it. Development of American soccer is not won or lost in a single match, but this victory certainly cements that Bob Bradley will remain the US manager for some time barring some epic collapse by the team. That means the future of US soccer now lays in his hands, for better or worse, and whether this win will propel the team forward or cause it to stumble backwards remains to be seen.

However, the US needs to bask in the golden glow of this victory while it can. This was a great, hard-fought win. Remember it and aspire to recreate it.

Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated:

On the day the United States stunned the soccer world, forward Landon Donovan awoke to a vision of the future, courtesy of a picture from the past.

It came in an e-mail from his father, Tim. The son opened the attachment, and on his laptop screen there appeared a photograph of the 1980 U.S. ice hockey team celebrating their gold medal at the Lake Placid Olympics.

Sacha Kljestan:
All you haters can shut up now. To all my boys and people that support us... THANK YOU. goodnight

Jamie Trecker,
This was the victory American fans have been dying to see. It was against a major team, in a major tournament, and on foreign soil. Tonight's result was the biggest win ever in American soccer's long and fitful history, and the first time the USA had downed a No. 1 ranked team since that famous 1998 win over Brazil in the Gold Cup. That night, keeper Kasey Keller was the hero, stopping some 35 shots.

Steven Davis, Soccernet:
The United States' memorable bid for the ultimate tournament rally lives on. A night of stubborn, committed defending and opportunistic sniping saw the United States upend mighty Spain 2-0 in an absolute stunner.

George Vecsey, NY Times:
The stunning 2-0 victory by the United States over Spain — the best team in the world — is probably the greatest victory by the men’s national soccer team.

And when you think of it, the victory Wednesday is probably the second-biggest upset by an American team, behind only the 1980 Miracle on Ice by the hockey team over the Soviet Union in the Olympics.

Jack Bell, NY Times Goal Blog:
Now, the United States is playing with house money as it prepares for the final against the winner of Brazil - South Africa. Assuming the American team qualifies for next summer’s World Cup, its performance in the Confederations Cup will be factored into FIFA’s formula when it comes time to select the seeded teams in the eight first-round groups. While there may be no slam dunks in the 32-nation World Cup, this will make a difference.

Grahame Jones, LA Times:
The United States scored one of the most memorable victories in the nation's soccer history today, defeating European champion Spain, 2-0, in a semifinal of the Confederations Cup in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Steven Goff, Washington Post:
The 2-0 victory over Spain yesterday probably won't be considered the greatest upset in the 93-year history of the U.S. men's national soccer program, for it unfolded at the Confederations Cup, a mere rehearsal for next year's World Cup extravaganza.

But when you consider Spain's international rank (first), status (European champion), winning streak (world-record 15 matches) and unbeaten run (a record-tying 35 games since the fall of 2006), when you take into account the Americans' troubling path this year and their uninspiring play in the early stages of this eight-nation tournament, the outcome on a 36-degree evening in Bloemfontein, South Africa, will undoubtedly rival U.S. shockers on grander global stages: World Cup victories over England (1950), Colombia (1994) and Portugal (2002).

Ives Galarcep, Soccer By Ives:
The Americans delivered one of the best, most complete and gutsiest performance in American soccer history, scoring goals in each half to upset Spain, 2-0, to earn an improbable place in the Confederations Cup final.

The result was one of the biggest shocks in recent international history, with the all-conquering Spanish having broken the record for consecutive wins with their 15th on the trot against South Africa at the weekend.

Marca, translation please, the first quote was on this page of, but I worry it will be gone:
Onyewu y Demerit, dos frontones.Los centrales de Estados Unidos completaron un partido perfecto.


Al descanso, el marcador era preocupante y las sensaciones negativas. España no staba siendo España y Estados Unidos parecía el Dream Team en defensa.

Andy Hutchins*, The Big Lead:
I tweeted: “I cannot remember being this stunned by a sporting event in my lifetime.”

And I can’t. I wasn’t alive for the Miracle on Ice, and rarely considered two teams so unevenly matched as I did today’s. I though Spain winning by two goals would be a good result for our boys; before the game began, I would have bet any sum on Spain advancing.

This moment is for rejoicing, for celebrating a great game (both teams were offensively proficient, and the Americans’ backline did a remarkable imitation of granite) and reveling in the magic of sports delivering the unexpected.

*Mr. Hutchins is a TBL intern this summer and soccerphile like us. This is one of his first efforts and I have to commend him on a good post.


Anonymous said...

My translation from Marca:
"La Roja" Surprised by the Opponent that Seemed Most Accessible
Shipwreck on the US Coast
The United States took advantage of two defensive errors by Capdevila and Ramos. Spain became anxious and never found the road to the goal.
Spain wiped out its immaculate results in a test that seemed easy against the United States, the opponent everyone wanted and no one expected. The yankees emerged from sheep's clothing to surprise a Spain team that choked on its role of favorite and ended up losing the match and true north. The compasses in midfield were thrown off from the outset by pressure from the Americans, who fought every ball as if it was American football. The key passers were drowned, making it difficult for the ball to reach receivers. Villa and Torres ran up against Onyewu and Demerit, two central defenders who had agreed to play the game of their lives.
/that's just the first paragraph

Spectator said...

Thanks for the translation!!

Ian said...

Seriously, Gooch might have earned himself some serious money yesterday.

Anonymous said...

excerpts from the rest of it:
The [first] goal shocked Spain, which found itself in an unexpected and almost unknown situation, and didn't know how to resolve it... At halftime, the scoreline was worrying and the mood was negative. Spain wasn't being Spain and the US looked like the Dream Team on defense.

The shot by the American star [Donovan] was derailed by Pique, and ended up at Ramos' feet. The Madrid player controlled it calmly in the small penalty box and Dempsey stole his purse, resulting in widespread astonishment.

Our identifying trait on the road to success was humility, and we lost that against the United States.

Precious Roy said...

And yet on sports talk radio during my morning drive a couple of clowns were making fun of Tim Howard for having to make all of six saves.


Bigus Dickus said...

this result has brought out all the glory chasers in my office. People who wouldn't know gooch from guchi and think that spector is a piece of video equipment are coming up to me and chanting USA, USA, like the result bothers me? Very strange.

Spectator said...

This past week for the US shows why football is the greatest sport in the world. It can go from abject
misery to unbridled joy and glory chasing in only the blink of an eye. Honestly, when the US scored the second
goal, I can't remember the last time I was so shocked and happy.

Precious Roy said...

Well, after thinking we would get pasted 4-0, I will continue to chew on my own delicious words... until Sunday.

G said...

Thanks for the roundup. Been kinda hitting sites myself, and this post is so much easier/better.

Thanks to gramesy for translating. Love the Dempsey stole his purse line. Classic.

hockalees said...

Can everyone tap the brakes with all their comparisons to the Miracle on Ice?

If yesterday's game had been played in 1898, it might have had the sociopolitical significance of the Miracle on Ice.

If the USMNT was made up of unknown college and USSL players instead of NIKE marketed/hyped players, it would be comparable.

If Spain was not just the "current #1 ranked team in the world" (what was the USMNT's ranking in 2006?) but instead a team that won every world cup but one since 1986, then this game might be held in the same regard.

And most importantly, if the US goes out and lays an egg on Sunday, then the game has virtually no significance. Yesterday they played like a team with nothing to lose. Let's see how they respond under pressure. Unfortunately, Herb Brooks isn't in the locker room.

Yesterday was a good sign. Period.

MyBoysAreMyLife said...

I love this quote from Del Bosque: "We've got to be very careful with this notion that we're unbeatable . . . every game is a potential banana skin."

Yeah, broke your leg on that one, didn't ya?

corky said...

From Guzan's Twitter:

"beat spain many haters!"

I love the fact we won, but they really did deserve the criticism earlier.

If this the way they play after getting criticized, I say we give it to them with both barrels.

Precious Roy said...

Yeah, sorry guys but we don't love you unconditionally any more. Soccer fans in this country have gotten sophisticated enough that they can distinguish between quality play and the ol' junior college try.

If the teams plays like shit, they're going to hear it. That doesn't make us 'haters.' That makes them underachievers.

The Fan's Attic said...

thanks for the Espanol translations, i thought there was some good stuff there.

Mike Georger said...

Did the seeding change from how they did it in 2006? If not, I fail to see how we can get into the top seven combining FIFA rankings and the results from the last two World Cups. We had a few top five rankings going into the equation last time if I remember correctly and we were still far off the pace.

We need to be at least seventh as SA gets an auto seed, and sixth if Italy qualify and slip to eighth or lower in the rankings.