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A great win over Spain … now can the U.S surprise some more?


The Confederations Cup, effectively a warm-up tournament for the World Cup, rarely captures the imagination but fans in the United States aren’t lacking enthusiasm for the tournament after their team produced a major upset by defeating European champions Spain 2-0.

Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey ended Spain’s world record run of 15 successive victories and their 35-match unbeaten sequence, a world record streak they share with Brazil. That run has taken Spain to world number one in FIFA’s global rankings.

So a major upset — but just how big a surprise was it?

Our man at the game, global soccer editor Mike Collett, poses the question by putting the U.S’s victory in historical context — North Korea beating Italy in the 1966 World Cup probably takes the prize for this reporter and the fact that the Confederations Cup is a lesser tournament than the World Cup probably weakens the case for this win being among the very greatest upset ever. But regardless of the global-historical rating there is less doubt that, as Mike argues, the win is the biggest for United States since the 1950 shock over England in the World Cup finals.

The U.S have pulled off a few surprises since then, though, and Kartik Krishnaiyer at MLS Talk lists the main triumphs. As Kartik notes, a 3-0 win over Argentina in the 1995 Copa America was a particularly impressive result for a team which had yet to make a real impact in a World Cup. But probably the best U.S result, up until Wednesday, taking into account the importance of the match, was the 3-2 win over Portugal in the 2002 World Cup.

from Left field:

Spain’s sporting state of grace

pauPau Gasol's triumph with the LA Lakers has prompted more articles in the Spanish media celebrating the country's incredible run of sporting success.

Gasol was a vital cog in the Lakers machine this season and joins a long list of Spanish champions in individual and team sports.

Is Grandad Aragones set to leave Fenerbahce?


Turks have nicknamed Luis Aragones “dede” or “granddad” since he became Fenerbahce coach last July – at first to convey the respect they’d show a wise and experienced elder, but nowadays to express their fury at a man they view as an incompetent geriatric.

Calls for his resignation have increased since Fenerbahce lost the Turkish Cup to bitter Istanbul rivals Besiktas last week. A victory could have sweetened Aragones’ severance package from his contract, but would no longer have saved his job, Turkish media said.

The danger of goal celebrations…

Anyone remember Arsenal’s Steve Morrow being dropped by Tony Adams in the 1993 English League Cup final? Well this guy in Spain got injured all by himself….

This is from our main website.

Real Betis striker Sergio Garcia will be out for a month after injuring his knee while celebrating scoring the opening goal in the 3-3 home draw against Numancia.

Don’t mention the draw!


This week’s two World Cup qualifiers between Spain and Turkey have prompted the Spanish media to look back at a dramatic moment in the history of the two nations’ soccer teams.

It came at the end of the last of three matches the pair played in early 1954 to decide which would qualify for the World Cup in Switzerland later that year.

Real’s problems begin in the boardroom


The Spanish press have one question on their minds following Real Madrid’s Champions League humiliation at the hands of Liverpool.

Why has the club that dominated Europe from 1998 to 2002 failed to make it past the last 16 of the Champions League in five years, despite spending (wasting?) tens of millions of euros in the transfer market?

Vlog on the pitch – Can Real really catch Barca?

A few weeks ago the La Liga title looked a done deal but Juande Ramos has steadied the ship and Real Madrid now find themselves four points behind Barcelona with the two teams still to play each other at the Bernabeu on May 3.

Can Real complete an unlikely comeback?

Vlogonthepitch host Owen Wyatt and Kevin Fylan discuss.

The Spanish secretly love Beckham too

David Beckham was roundly booed when he was booked for dissent in Seville on Wednesday but most of the local fans had their tongues firmly in their cheeks given there is a good deal of affection in Spain for the former Real Madrid midfielder.

His feat in equalling Bobby Moore’s England outfield appearance record of 108 is impressive to the Spanish, whose most-capped non-goalkeeper is Beckham’s former Real colleague Raul with 102, followed by Fernando Hierro on 89.

Beckham deserves to stand alongside Moore


A great many people, most of whom never saw Bobby Moore play, have decided that it is an insult to his memory that David Beckham will equal his outfield record of 108 England caps if he plays against Spain on Wednesday.

But if Moore , who died in 1993, had been around today you can be sure he would have been the first to sincerely congratulate a fellow gentleman of the game. The Golden-locked hero of 1966 would have recognised much of himself in Goldenballs.

Is it possible for Barcelona to lose the Primera Liga?


Barcelona look unstoppable this season but did Sporting Gijon coach Manolo Preciado tempt fate when he said it was crazy to think La Liga was not already in the bag?

Pep Guardiola’s team swept aside Sporting 3-1 on Sunday to make it 10 consecutive league wins.