Game : Spain vs United States
Competition : Confederations Cup semifinal
Venue : Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kickoff : 24 June, Wednesday, 20.30 South Africa time.
Group A winners Spain take on surprise Group B runners up USA in the first semifinal of the 2009 Confederations Cup in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
La Furia Roja qualified from Group A with three wins out of three, but the USA came from nowhere to set up a semifinal clash with the European champions after they won their final league game 3-0 and saw Italy being beaten by the same margin.
Spain have now won fifteen in a row, and based on their current form, few will bet against them making sixteen against the USA. Liverpool’s Alvaro Arbeloa, who started in defence against South Africa, is likely to make way for Sergio Ramos. Raul Albiol, Carles Puyol and Joan Capdevila make up the rest of the defence. The midfield looks imposing, with Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas in it.
The USA, who did not win their first two games, are in the semifinals only because of a miracle. Never in the last fifty years have Italy conceded three in the first half, and because they did so against Brazil, the USA’s 3-0 win over Egypt allowed them to sneak through on goals scored.
Carlos Bocanegra is again likely to be injured, which meand DeMerit and Oneywu will continue their partnership in defence. Charlie Davies could get another start upfront after his impressive performance against Egypt.
The USA cannot allow Spain space in the middle, which means Ricardo Clark and Michael Bradley will have their work cut out. A low will also depend on how Dempsey and Donovan fare against Capdevila and Ramos respectively.
The USA have nothing to lose, but I don’t see them overcoming this strong Spanish side.
Spain to win 2-0, with Xavi and Fernando Torres scoring.