Thursday, June 18, 2009

Confed Cup: Brazil - USA preview

Hi, all.

It's Confed Cup time again and today's first is USA - Brazil.

Brazil have never lost a game on African soil. In eight games on the continent, the Seleção have been victorious on each and every occasion. Before their debut against Egypt in this year's Confederations Cup, they played four matches against Egypt, one against Portugal in Mozambique, one against South Africa, and most recently against Nigeria in 2003.

With a world-best five FIFA World Cup titles and eight Copa America's to their name, the Brazilian legacy of international success may well give the upstart Americans something to think about ahead of their 14th meeting in Johannesburg.

Historically there has never been a draw between the United States and Brazil, the Seleção winning 12 of the 13 meetings between the two teams.

The only time the Americans managed a win over the illustrious South American giants was way back at the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup, when a lone goal by current Chivas USA coach Preki sparked wild celebrations and an historic moment in the history of the US national team.

The Americans come into this game with no injury concerns. But after the way they played against Italy, it is hard not to think that they would get a mauling from Brazil. Yet, if coach Bob Bradley can opt for a defensive game with the attacking combination of Landon Donovan and Freddy Adu, he may leave this game unscathed.

Kaka, who powered the South Americans to the 4-3 eke over Egypt says his team would get better as the series ages.

"Over the last few years we (Brazil) have played a good number of matches against the United States.

We may have won most of those games and have the edge in the overall record, but not a single one of those games was easy for us. I remember our last meeting, in 2007 in Miami, the 4-2 scoreline may not show it, but we had to fight hard for that win.

The US team is tactically very disciplined and organised and I am sure Dunga will brief us properly to face them the right way and to avoid the kind of mistakes we made in the second half against Egypt."

After Ricardo Clark's red card in the Italy game, USA may replace him their coach's son, Michael Bradley. Carlos Bocanegra would also be likely to be back from missing the first game due to a hamstring injury.

"After losing our opener, this game against Brazil is now a must-win for us. We know we can give a hard game to any team we meet and Brazil will be no different. We need to put the first game with Italy behind us and bounce back by getting right at Brazil," says Donovan.

This should be a fine game and it starts at 1400GMT. I'll be punting on TV3.