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Fifa Confederations Cup Final

Fifa Confederations Cup Final

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Soccer heads to big dance with Brazil in Confederations Cup finalBY Michael LewisSPECIAL TO THE NEWS Sunday, June 28th 2009, 4:00 AM Calanni/APU.S.

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shocks top-ranked Spain, 2-0SANDTON, South Africa - FIFA president Sepp Blatter calls them miracle workers.United States coach Bob Bradley says not so fast, there is one more game to go before the Americans can earn that title - and an official one.

"The miracle that we're shooting for has got to be Sunday," he said.

"We have confidence." The U.S.

men's national team today finds itself only 90 minutes from making history and winning its first major international soccer tournament in the FIFA Confederations Cup final in Johannesburg.

The Americans have to beat mighty Brazil to do so.

"We found out against Spain that anything's possible," goalkeeper Tim Howard said of the 2-0 upset of the world's top-ranked team in Wednesday's semifinals.

If the U.S.

pulls off its second huge stunner within five days, it would send shock waves throughout the world.

"If beating Spain in the semifinals was a statement, then this would be incredible," Howard said.

"It probably will be one of the most unexpected wins in the history of sports." The key to the Americans' hopes is to play with the energy they have shown from the opening kickoff in their past two games - the first a win over Egypt - and avoid the type of tentative start that hurt them in the 3-0 opening-round loss to Brazil.

"The first time we played Brazil, we came out a bit timid," U.S.

captain and defender Carlos Bocanegra said.

"We gave them almost too much respect.

We went out there and sat back too much.

We need to start the game with a lot of energy." Howard realizes the U.S.

cannot try to stop everything Brazil will throw its way.

The Americans must pick and choose.

"They're one of those teams where you can't have it all," he said.

"You can't shut everything down.

You might stop one of their best players, but they have 10 others who are just fantastic.

We have to play as we did against Spain: pick your poison a little bit.

Try as best you can to dictate.

Take something away.

If you don't, you're going to spread yourself too thin." The Brazilians have numerous weapons, as the U.S.

was reminded last week.

"The first thing you notice is the talent and the way they go forward," Bradley said.

"They have been very good coming from deep positions where they have space, and the speed of Kaka and Robinho comes into play and those are dangerous situations.

And, they have also been very good on set pieces.

It's in these two areas that we understand how important it is, but that doesn't mean that we don't see the other things.

The midfield is strong, their defense is strong." One of Bradley's big decisions is to find someone to replace his son, Michael, at defensive midfielder.

The younger Bradley is suspended from the final after drawing a late red card against Spain.

Benny Feilhaber is the top candidate to pair with former MetroStar Ricardo Clark in the middle.Ads by Yahoo!EmailPrintRssShareDiggStumbleUponFacebookSee all share links >>Del.icio.usMixxRedditPropellerNewsvineFurl
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