The United States Football team (yes I am calling soccer football) takes a lot of positive experiences in South Africa after concluding a 3-2 loss against Brazil in the FIFA Confederations Cup. Yes, it was a heartbreaking loss for the USA, leading 2-0 at the half. However, I had a VERY bad feeling that the Brazilian Team would come back and win this game.
Unfortunately, I was right.
After Luis Fabiano scored in the opening minutes of the second half, the momentum was clearly on their side. Then before the game was over, Luis Fabiano scored his second goal and captain Lucio scored late in the goal to seal the comeback for Brazil. I seem to feel the pain along with the US National Team.
Despite the World Rankings, Brazil was a better test for the USA than Spain was in my opinion. Yes, Spain is the #1 team in the world according to fifa.com and had a 15-game winning streak, but Brazil has 5 World Cup titles and 3 Confederation Cup titles, if you include today's win. So you can say that Brazil has "been there and done that."
It is kind of ironic that the USA got help from Brazil to get into the semifinals and lose to that same Brazilian team in the finals, but that is how the game goes sometimes. The US National Team got the the bounces their way in the Egypt game needing three goals and rode that confidence in the semis against Spain and Brazil, well for the most part.
The US National Team gains some much needed experience in this game than in others past. This was the first final for the USA in any FIFA competition. I was a little worried about how the USA would react to this. A great first half was followed by a not-so-great second half.
Now the USA knows what it is like to be in a FIFA final competition, but it was not like that the US team did not want it. If you saw the award ceremony after the game when Clint Dempsey received his Bronze Boot award, I could tell he was visibly in tears, even more so when the US National Team was getting their medals. Dempsey wanted that win so badly and to get so close and not get it has to be very painful for the whole team.
With Dempsey getting the Bronze Boot award, Goalkeeper Tim Howard won the Golden Glove award. This tournament was a big learning experience for the US National Team as a whole. They now know what it is like to play in a final besides the CONCACAF. I look forward to watching this team in the upcoming Gold Cup, World Cup Qualifiers, and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.