USA, after losing 3-1 to Italy in their opening group game of the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, will have a potentially tougher test next. Brazil only eked out a sloppy 4-3 win over Egypt in their first match, but star man Kaka has vowed they will only improve as the tournament rolls on.
USA-Brazil, 18 June, 20.30 (local time), Tshwane/Pretoria
The Americans went a goal ahead against the Azzurri in their opener in Pretoria on 15 June, but a man down after the sending off of enthusiastic midfielder Ricardo Clark they couldn't manage to hang on, eventually falling on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline that flattered the reigning world champions. The Brazilians managed a 4-3 win in a thrilling goal-feast in Bloemfontein. However, they will have problems to address as Dunga's men looked less than their stellar best, especially in defence.
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.
Oguchi Onyewu-Luis Fabiano
Brazil's outstanding Sevilla striker has vowed publically to score a goal a game at these finals in South Africa. He's already off the mark having grabbed the second against the Egyptians, but he will need to find a way past the hulking figure of Oguchi Onyewu, the USA's last line of defence, come Thursday's clash. A massive presence at the back, the 1.93m defender is a formidable presence, and one that even O Fabuloso (The Fabulous) may not be able to find a way around. Only time will tell if the Brazilian ace can be as good as his word here in South Africa.
The game on Thursday in the Loftus Versfeld Stadium will be the first time that the USA and Brazil have met at a senior men's FIFA competition since the 2003 Confederations Cup finals in France. On that day, in Lyon, the United States gave fine account of themselves, losing out only by just one slim goal from Adriano. Before that meeting, the Americans lost out 1-0 to the Brazilians at the FIFA World Cup in 1994 when, as hosts, they earned a moral victory in their round of 16 meeting, eventually going down after a tough fight and a goal by Bebeto.
19/146 - USA striker Jozy Altidore recently made history by becoming the youngest American player to score a hat trick. At just 19 years and 146 days, the muscular forward bullied his way past the Trinidad and Tobago backline to score three in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Did you know
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.
"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," Brazil midfielder Kaka.
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," USA forward Landon Donovan.
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