Sunday, June 21, 2009

United States tops Egypt 3-0 to reach semifinals of Confederations Cup

RUSTENBERG, South Africa – Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey scored second-half goals and the United States beat African champion Egypt 3-0 on Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup.

Charlie Davies scored his second international goal in the first half and the USA, after seemingly eliminated following lopsided losses to Italy and Brazil earlier in the week and having scored only one goal – a penalty, qualified for the knockout rounds on head-to-head goals scored thanks to Brazil’s 3-0 victory over Italy.

The United States, Egypt and Italy all finished with three points, but Egypt had a goal difference of minus-3 and the USA and Italians were at minus-2. The Americans edged the Italians, however, having scored four goals to Italy's three.

The United States created chances early, starting with a free kick by Dempsey in the sixth minute, and while not dominant, clearly had more possession and looked nothing like the team that was overwhelmed by Italy and Brazil.

Essam El Hadary thwarted Bradley as the American midfielder shot unmarked from inside the area on a run in the 14th minute, and Landon Donovan broke clear down the left side but sent a cross into empty space in the 16th.

The United States went ahead in the 21st minute when Jozy Altidore took a thrown-in from the near side, turned his defender and sent a ball to the near post that El Hadary was able to block. But the rebound skipped away and Davies, with Hani Said and Ahmed Fathi trying to clear, raced behind El Hadari and managed a right-footed shot that the goalkeeper was able to get his hands to but only to deflect it into the net.

The Americans continued to press with Donovan weaving his way through the Egyptian defense before El Hadary raced off his line to finally smother the danger.

The United States started to sense it could reach the semifinals in the 63rd when Donovan exchanged passes with Bradley twice in a run from midfield that ended with a simple square ball by the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder that Bradley ran onto and volleyed from nearly on top of the penalty spot.

Dempsey scored the critical goal in the 71st, outleaping Wael Gomaa to redirect Jonathan Spector’s looping cross from the right, heading it just inside the left post from the 6-yard line.

The United States will play European champion Spain on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the title match against the victor between South Africa and Brazil.

Reprinted from

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