Sunday at 4pm the USA was up 1-0 against Egypt and looked to be on there way back to the USA with a disappointing first round exit in the Confederations Cup. What a difference 72 hours makes!!!
USA not only scored two goals in the final 15 minutes to beat Egypt and advance, they also shocked world by beating world number one Spain who was on a 35 match unbeaten streak and had not allowed a goal all tournament.
Coming into the game not even the most optimistic, prideful USA fan gave the Americans a chance to topple the Spaniards, but Landon Donovan and company proved everyone wrong.
People have been waiting for the USA to become a soccer power and it looked like it was happening after an impressive run to the round of eight in the 2002 World Cup in Korea, but since then, the United States has disappointed.
In 2006 the United States failed to make it out of the first round garnering only a draw (albeit against eventual champion Italy) and they had looked over matched for the first 180 minutes of soccer they played in the 2009 Confederations Cup.
The United States has made tremendous strides since hosting the 1994 World Cup when they got automatic entry into the World Cup because the were the host. From about 1950- 1990 qualifying for the World Cup was a tremendous accomplishment, but now it is something that is expected. If the United States does want to become a “world power” and gain respect, just making the World Cup every year isn’t good enough.
The 2-0 win against Spain today might be the biggest win in the history of USA soccer, but how they follow up on the win is just as important.
Will they follow it up with the lack luster performances they had against the Czech Republic and Ghana in the 2006 World Cup? Or will they show the same heart and desire they showed in tying Italy 1-1 despite playing the majority of the game a man down?
The USA took a major step forward, now they need to avoid taking two steps back. It is likely the USA will draw Brazil in the final, who despite the rankings, I believe still is the most talented team and the world. Earlier in the tournament the Brazilians embarrassed the United States with a 3-0 victory that could have been a lot worse.
Despite their struggles in the 2006 World Cup and looking lack luster at times in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup the United States showed that on any given day they can beat any team in the world.
For one night in South Africa the United States was the best soccer team in the world. A far cry from the team that went 44 years without winning a World Cup game!!
Now lets take out the Brazilians!!