Where does U.S. win over Spain rank in list of upsets?
In the previous post, Simon Evans discussed where the U.S. go from here after their stunning win over Spain. Below Mike Collett looks at where the Confederations Cup semi-final victory ranks among shocks.
The debate is back on. Where does the United States’ shock 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup on Wednesday rank among the all-time great upsets.
I would say very high indeed.
It’s not just the facts leading up to the match that scream “WOW, that was something else” but also the way the U.S. played. It was defending, team-work, spirit, guts and resilience of the highest level. The goals were not flukey either.
Teenager Jozy Altidore muscled his way past some tame defending from his Villarreal team mate Joan Capdivila to score the opener and Clint Dempsey pounced with the opportunism all great strikers show to put the U.S. 2-0 ahead.
Perhaps because they won 2-0 and not 1-0 as is usual in the case of upsets, this victory deserves a place in the top five of all time.
And before anyone says, “ah but the U.S. is ranked No.14 in the world by FIFA, so it’s not that big a deal,” think again.
The U.S. is ranked that highly because of the low standard of most of the teams around them in the CONCACAF zone — not all, but a lot. Any anyway, in football terms, the U.S. are not giants. They may rule the world, but they do not rule soccer — yet.
My suggestion for the greatest international upset of all time remains the United States 1-0 victory over England in the 1950 World Cup finals in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Some English papers thought the result was a misprint and “corrected” it the following day to read United States 1 England 10. They were wrong.
Here they are my choices then: I know I’ve probably left some real obvious ones out:
1. United States 1 England 0 1950 World Cup
2. North Korea 1 Italy 0 1966 World Cup
3. West Germany 3 Hungary 2 1954 World Cup final
4. Uruguay 2 Brazil 1 1950 World Cup final
5. United States 2 Spain 0 2009 Confederations Cup
6. Cameroon 1 Argentina 0 1990 World Cup
7. Senegal 1 France 0 2002 World Cup
8. Denmark winning 1992 European championship
9. Greece winning 2004 European championship
10. Faroe Islands 1 Austria 0 – Faroe Islands first ever competitive match in a Euro ’92 qualifier played in September 1990
11. Northern Ireland 1 Spain 0 1982 World Cup
12. Nigeria 3 Spain 2 1998 World Cup
13. Egypt 1 Italy 0 2009 Confederations Cup
14. West Germany 0 Northern Ireland 1 – West Germany’s first ever home defeat in a European qualifier, Hamburg 1983.
15. England 3 Hungary 6 1953 – England’s first-ever home defeat to overseas opposition but those in the know, saw it coming…and the Hungarians were magificent.