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.
All you haters can shut up now. To all my boys and people that support us... THANK YOU. goodnight
Jamie Trecker, Foxsports.com:
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 Marca.com, 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.