USA nips Spain, 86-85

ESPN has the highlights.

Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 25 points and had two huge blocks in the waning seconds to secure the one-point exhibition win.

The U.S. went to zone after Derrick Rose’s go-ahead free throws and Durant did the rest with a pair of blocks on Ricky Rubio and Rudy Fernandez.

Even though Spain played without its best player, Pau Gasol, they’re still one of the top international teams in the world, so this is a good win for this young U.S. team.

It took some doing, but I finally found the box score. (Warning: It’s in Spanish.)

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

U.S. to meet Brazil in Confederations Cup finals


Spain’s national team, the No. 1-ranked professional soccer team in the world, had been unbeaten a world-record-tying 35 games in a row. They had also won a world-record-tying 15 games in a row. But then they met the United States in the 2009 Confederations Cup. They met the Americans and the Americans beat them. This is the same U.S. National team that has never won a World Cup, a Confederations Cup, or made any FIFA records of considerable note. Nevertheless, they outplayed their Spanish opponents on Wednesday, defeating them 2-0 in front of a shocked South African crowd.

Although Spain outshot the U.S. 18-9, nothing could get by goalkeeper Tim Howard who was solid the entire game. Goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey were enough to propel the U.S. into the finals.

Now the Americans will face Brazil, a team they have only beaten once in national competition. Earlier today, Brazil defeated South Africa 1-0 in a hard fought contest. But just because Brazil is in yet another final does not mean they are unstoppable. It took 88 minutes for Brazil to score, when Daniel Alves knocked a direct kick into the net against a highly underrated South African squad.

Although the ripple effect may, unfortunately, not be as large here in the U.S., the fact that Spain’s national team was beaten buy a bunch of Americans is making news around the world. Nobody, and I mean nobody, expected this to happen. I didn’t, sports critics didn’t, the handful of American soccer fans didn’t, Spain didn’t, and even the irritating ESPN2 commentators didn’t (it’s OK to show a tad bit of nationalism, you bozos).

Jim Rome was right in his telecast today: this victory won’t put U.S. soccer on the map. Still, it’s amazing.

You can watch the U.S play Brazil in the Cofederations Cup final on Sunday at 11 AM on ESPN.

U.S. advances to Confederations Cup semifinals


At the Confederations Cup in Rustenburg, South Africa, the U.S. National Team is continuing to surprise everyone as earlier today they beat Egypt to advance to the semifinals.

The Americans had looked to be heading out of the tournament after losses to Italy and Brazil, but Charlie Davies, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey scored in a vastly improved performance to edge the African champions for a place in the next round on goal difference.

“All of the critics in America who said we were no good after losing to Italy and Brazil, let’s see what they say now,” Bradley said. “We had to play 90 of 180 minutes against two of the top five teams in the world with 10 men.”

The United States kept 11 men on the field all game after a red card in each of its previous two games and it showed. Where the Americans had labored previously, they shone throughout and could have scored even more.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, expected the United States to go far at all in this tournament. The Confederations Cup started, which is held every four years, pits the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships (CAF, CONMEBOL, UEFA, AFC, OFC, CONCACAF), along with the FIFA World Cup winner and the host country. The U.S. National Team is playing great soccer right now and hopefully they will continue with this energy up till next year’s World Cup.

They will face Spain in the semifinals on Wednesday.

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