USA upsets Spain, wins 2–0 in FIFA Confederations Cup semifinal

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

24 June 2009
Spain 0 – 2 United States Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 35,369
Referee: Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)
Report Altidore Scored after 27 minutes 27'
Dempsey Scored after 74 minutes 74'
Clint Dempsey's goal (73') sealed the victory for the USA.
Image: Jarrett Campbell.

The United States defeated Spain in the semifinal round of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, claiming their first berth in the tournament's final. The United States, ranked #14 in FIFA World Rankings, snapped Spain's 35-match unbeaten streak heading into the game.

The loss prevented Spain from setting a new world record of 36 matches without defeat. Spain, the UEFA champion, had set an international record with 15 straight victories and was trying to stretch its unbeaten streak to 36, breaking the mark set by Brazil from December 1993 to January 1996

The match was held at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The FIFA Confederations Cup has been held there as a prelude to next year's 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Spain was ranked #1 heading into the match and were deemed heavy favorites. They had won their group games with ease and were expected to do so again against the United States, who barely qualified for the semifinal rounds over Italy. Just days ago, the United States was on the verge of elimination after losing their first two matches of the tournament. The United States had been 1–7–1 against top ranked teams heading into the match and lost its three previous matches against Spain in 1950, 1992, and 2008. The United States qualified for the tournament by winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

A goal by Jozy Altidore (25') gave the United States the lead at halftime and a goal by Clint Dempsey (73') sealed the victory. The team attempted only four shots, two of which were on goal and both scored. Meanwhile, Spain attempted eleven shots with six on goal.

The United States will play defending Confederations Cup champion Brazil or host team South Africa on Sunday in the tournament finals.