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Confederations Cup

Confederations Cup

Americans can advance with tie or win against Germany following 1-0 setback to Brazil.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Wednesday, July 28, 1999) -- The United States didn’t win, but it accomplished its mission tonight.

Simply put, despite losing 1-0 to Brazil on Ronaldinho’s goal in the 12th minute before 54,000 at Jalisco Satdium, the Americans need only tie (or defeat) Germany here on Friday at 7 p.m.. (ET) to advance to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup on Sunday.

Brazil (2-0, 6 points, plus-5 goal differential) virtually assured winning Group B, but the U.S. (1-1, 3 points, 0) maintained its advantage over Germany in goal differential, the first tiebreaker in group standings. In tonight’s first match, Germany (1-1, 3 points, minus-2) blanked New Zealand (0-2, 0 points, minus-3). The top two teams after Friday’s play advance to play the top pair of Group A finishers.

It was a good showing for the U.S. which held its own against the tournament favorite, and the Americans even controlled the latter part of the second half, though Brazilian goalkeeper Dida whose only test for the evening was stopping Joe-Max Moore’s penalty kick to preserve his nation’s 1-0 advantage in the 72d minute.

"I think it was a very good game, tactically, by both teams," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena. "We got our opportunities in this match, and that's really all we could ask for."

The game-winner came off the head of Brazil’s 19-year old sensation Ronaldinho. Serginho made a run deep into the left corner past Frankie Hejduk and cross into the goal mouth. Ronaldinho stepped in inside of defender Carlos Llamosa, elevated and drove his header from six yards out into the far right corner. Keeper Kasey Keller had no chance save the shot.

The U.S. was not content to sit back and defend, outshooting Brazil 13-8. Though the Americans repeatedly brought back numbers behind the ball, they also managed to counterattack. On several occasions in the match, nice combinations of passes set up attackers in areas close to or in the Brazilian penalty area. The U.S, however, was undone by horrendous shooting, when it managed to get a shot off at all in these situations.

The U.S.'s best chance of the first half came in the 30th minute after defender Jeff Agoos played a long, accurate ball down the left flank to Cobi Jones. The midfielder squirted into the area past Evanilson and cut the ball back into the path of Brian McBride. McBride's 16-yard blast was blocked down to the feet of Jones, and his weak shot was easily grabbed by Dida.

A sensational effort by U.S. defender Robin Fraser in the 63d minute allowed the U.S. to remain close. Second-half substitute Warley dribbled free on breakaway from 40 yards out on the left side. Fraser made up significant territory, caught up to the Brazilian, nudging him slightly off the ball so he could not manage a hard shot. Keller was there to scoop up the weak attempt.

Then, in the 72th minute, the U.S. wasted a prime chance to tie. But Moore scuffed his penalty kick low to the left center of the goal with Dida diving to his right to snare the shot, tucking it into his body. The PK was awarded after Odvan swiped with his left leg along the back of Jones’ legs, this taking him down in the top left of penalty area.

Tomorrow Group A concludes preliminary play with Egypt (0-1-1, 1 points, 0) facing Saudi Arabia (0-2, 0 points, minus-4), followed by Bolivia (0-0-2, 2 points, 0) against Mexico (1-0-1, 4 points, plus-4). All matches are at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Brazil 1, United States 0

Lineups: United States - Kasey Keller (captain), Jeff Agoos, Robin Fraser, Carlos Llamosa (Eddie Lewis, 68), Frankie Hejduk, Gregg Berhalter, John Harkes (Joe-Max Moore 57), Ernie Stewart, Cobi Jones, Jovan Kirovski, Brian McBride; Brazil - Dida, Evanilson, Odvan, Joao Carlos, Serginho, Vampeta, Flavio Conceicao (Alex 68), Emerson (captain), Ze Roberto, Ronaldinho (Beto 80), Christian (Warley 46).

Brazil - Ronaldinho (Serginho) 12.

Shots: United States 13, Brazil 8. Saves: United States 3, Brazil 6. Corner kicks: United States 2, Brazil 0. Fouls: United States 13, Brazil 16. Offside: United States 1, Brazil 15. Yellow card caution: United States - Berhalter 6, Llamosa 35, Fraser 61; Brazil - Emerson 92+.

Referee: Frisk Anders (Sweden). Assistant referees: Domingo Pequenino (Mozambique), Awni Hassouneh (Jordan). Attendance: 54,000 at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico. Weather: 82 degrees, cloudy.

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