US stun Spain to reach finals

Posted on 2009-06-26
WASHINGTON: Football made rare headlines in the US after the national team beat Spain 2-0 in the Confederations Cup to reach the first FIFA men’s final in its history.
At the game played in Bloemfontein’s Free State Stadium Wednesday, the US claimed what has been called their biggest football victory ever. Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey scored in either half for the US, who snapped Spain’s winning streak at 15 matches and unbeaten run at 35 games.
This win is huge for American soccer,” said man of the match Dempsey. “This is our first time to be in the final of a major competition, so obviously we’re thrilled.”
Many US newspapers called the shock result “the miracle on grass” - referring to the US hockey team’s upset defeat of the Soviet Union in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, a victory referred to as “the miracle on ice.”
ESPN commentator Jim Rome, whose baseball and basketball analysis show followed the live broadcast of the game from South Africa, was almost lost for words, as he introduced his programme. “Whew,” he told his audience, “soccer rocks.”From the ‘New York Times’ to ‘Yahoo to the Los Angeles Times’, newspapers and websites across the country plastered news of the success prominently. ‘The Times’ said it was “probably the greatest victory ever by the men’s national soccer team,” and noted that the “inequity” of the teams’ pedigree made the victory even more of a spectacle.
More importantly, the paper pointed out, the victory may well persuade FIFA to improve the US seeding prior to the World Cup draw December 4. “This was not the World Cup, but it was an important tournament in the march toward 2010,” said the ‘Times’.
Alexie Lalas, a member of the 1994 US World Cup team, said that Wednesday’s win gave him hope going in to the World Cup. “You’ve got to be proud - it’s a good old fashioned American soccer team,” he said.