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Inspired USA end Spain's record winning streak


Latest update : 2009-06-25

Spain slumped to their first defeat since November 15, 2006, falling to a stubborn US squad in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. Goals for Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey prevented Spain from surpassing Brazil's 35-match unbeaten run.

AFP - The United States shocked Spain 2-0 on Wednesday to book a place in the Confederations Cup final and end the European champions record-breaking win streak.

A first half strike from Villarreal's Jozy Altidore and another 16 minutes from time by Fulham's Clint Dempsey did the damage in what will go down as one of the biggest victories in US football history.

They also had a flawless performance by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and a commendable defensive display to thank for earning them a shot at the trophy on Sunday against either Brazil or hosts South Africa.

Their only black mark was having Michael Bradley - son of the coach Bob - sent off for a lunging tackle with four minutes left, meaning he will miss the final.

It was a remarkable upset on a freezing night that not only ended Spain's record of 15 consecutive wins but also prevented them from surpassing Brazil's 35-match unbeaten run.

Spain will have to be content with going into the history books level with the South Americans after their first loss since November 15 2006.

After resting several players for their last match against South Africa, they were back at full strength with Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Joan Capdevila and Xabi Alonso returning to action.

The United States welcomed back captain and ex-Fulham player Carlos Bocanegra while Howard returned to goal.

Spain had won all three previous encounters but the United States' miracle run to the last four, qualifying on goals scored after finishing level with Italy on goal difference, showed they could not be understimated.

They had the first chance of the match with Howard forced to turn a dangerous Cesc Fabregas cross-cum-shot over the bar in the third minute.

But the US weren't sitting back and Charlie Davies sent a spectacular bicycle kick flashing just wide then wasted a free header minutes later.

With Dempsey firing a long range drive close soon after it was clear they meant business.

At the other end Fabregas sent a cross in from the left which Fernando Torres volleyed just past the post from six yards.

They combined superbly again shortly after with the Liverpool striker forcing a fine one-handed save from his Merseyside rival Howard.

But in a major shock the US took the lead on 27 minutes when the powerful Altidore muscled past Capdevila and Carles Puyol with Casillas unable to prevent his shot finding the back of the net.

It was only the third goal Spain had conceded in 16 games.

Spain were in trouble but bounced back with a hatful of chances with Torres and Ramos in the thick of it only for heroic defending to deny them time and again.

They went to the break losing 1-0 and in need of something special.

David Villa almost provided it soon after the restart when he let rip from just inside the box but Howard turned it round the post.

Spain had a penalty appeal turned down before Albert Riera tugged a shot just wide as they ramped up the pressure.

They threw all they had at the Americans but Bocanegra and his defensive partners held firm and against the run of play the underdogs scored a second.

LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan sent the ball in from the right and defensive errors by Gerald Pique and Ramos allowed Dempsey to hustle the ball over the line for a famous victory.

Brazil and South Africa play their semi-final on Thursday.

Date created : 2009-06-24