THE DAY REPLAYED – Exactly one year ago, on 21 June, in Ulsan, Korea, the United States bowed out of the FIFA World Cup™ following a brave performance against Germany in the quarter-finals. Exactly 12 months on, things could not be more different as the Americans were again knocked out of a FIFA competition, but this time without glory after a second disappointing performance in the Confederations Cup against Brazil.
Earlier in the evening, Cameroon’s colourful supporters, distraught after their exit in the group stages in Korea/Japan, were dancing in the Paris streets after qualifying for the semi-finals thanks to a last-minute Geremi penalty that gave them the points against an unfortunate Turkish side. The Europeans, however, have now been presented with an opportunity to knock Brazil out of the tournament and take full revenge for their two slim defeats in the Far East.
The longest day of the year brought more shadows of doubt to the American football public. Following New Zealand, they become the second team to be eliminated from the tournament. And the fact that it happened in the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, scene of their 2-1 defeat against Iran at France 98, makes the pill even more bitter.
Without displaying the skills that made them world champions, Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will be pleased Brazil created opportunities – one taken early on by their number 9 Adriano - and will hope, as occurred in Korea/Japan, they can improve with each passing game.
After yesterday’s goal extravaganza, Day 4 of the FIFA Confederations Cup was dominated by defences. It seemed nothing could separate Turkey and Cameroon in the Stade de France and that the competition would record its first goalless game and first draw. But as the crowd prepared to depart to the Paris streets for the annual “Fete de la Musique”, Joseph-Desire Job tumbled in the area, Geremi converted the spotkick and thousands of colourful Cameroonians clad in green, yellow and red commenced the party in Saint Denis.
With one more gone and another through, the tournament is starting to take shape. And after another late, late strike for Winfried Schaefer’s Indomitable Lions, they might just be destined to play their dream final against the home nation at the Stade de France.