Those were some of the facts that were rolling off the commentators tongue prior to kick-off, but after another amazing 90 minutes of soccer the USA team turned world football on it's head when they defeated the mighty Spain 2-0 at Bloemfontein Stadium to advance to Sunday's final.
Image: Kick-Off.comTonight we witnessed a truly brilliant team performance from USA, the team who after two matches in Group B had 0 points and a goal difference of -5 somehow defied the odds to beat the unbeatable. Coach Bob Bradley's men made their intentions clear early in the match as they tried to show Spain that they wouldn't be content with just defending. Clint Davies had the firts chance when he attempted an overhead kick from inside the box but his effort went narrowly wide. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan both tested Casilla's with efforts from distance as the Eagles got off to a bright start despite trailing Spain in terms of possession.Torres had Spain's first attempt on goal when Fabregas squared the ball to him, but with too much pace on the cross and an awkward angle Torres could only blast the ball into the crowd for a goal-kick.
It was however in the 26th minute that the game turned on it's head. Villarreal's 19 year old striker Jozy Altidore received a pass from Landon Donovan and the powerful striker expertly shrugged off the challenge from Joan Capdevilla before firing an unstoppable shot at Casilla's, who got a strong hand to it but still failed to keep it out. 1-0 to America and you could sense an upset was on the cards.
For large parts of the rest of the match it was all about USA hanging on fr dear life as the Spanish hit them with everything in their locker, but USA defended brilliantly, Jay DeMerit staring at the back with a serious of last ditch tackles and vital blocks which kept their 1 goal lead safe going into the break.
Spain emerged from the break determined to pull a goal back and probably would have were it not for a series of fine saves from Tim Howard and more goal saving tackles from DeMerit. You could sense that Spain were starting to get frustrated as they pressed forward with attack after attack, and 20 minutes from full-time the USA punished them with a goal from nowhere on the counter. Landon Donovan the creator again , this time playing an inviting cross into the path of Clint Dempsey who was lurking at the far post. Sergio Ramos managed to get to the ball first but he failed to clear the danger and Dempsey capitalized on his slip up to make it 2-0 to the USA.
Spain were now visibly shocked and you you could see that the USA would win this one, even though they lost Michael Bradley in the dieing moments of the match after the midfielder was shown a straight red for a two footed challenge.
The Eagles held on for a memorable win that will see them taking on either Brazil or South Africa in Sunday's final.