The Confederations Cup: Brazil 3-2 USA

The Brazilian coach Dunga’s name translates as “Dopey” in Portuguese, but this soubriquet could have applied to his entire team this evening as the South American champions rode their luck against an American team which, unencumbered by such considerations as fatigue, outplayed them in every department in Johannesberg for forty-five minutes this evening. The Americans deployed the same tactics as they did against Spain during the week. They ran their hearts out, defended deeply and hit the Brazilians with two stunning breaks before half-time, but even these ended up being not quite enough, as Brazil found themselves in the second half and clawed their way back into the match. Earlier this afternoon, Spain had beaten South Africa to third place in the competition with a 3-2 win against the hosts in Rustenberg, in a match that came to life in the last fifteen minutes of normal time, which ended with an extraordinary thirty yard free kick from Katlego Mphela bringing South Africa level. A late, late freekick from Xabi Alonso which curled through about eighteen players to give Spain a win that much of their performance simply didn’t deserve. For South African supporters, though, there is at least cause for quiet optimism that even if they’re some way off being genuine challengers for the trophy, the rank humiliation that many had predicted for them won’t come to pass, at...

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