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The U.S. soccer team scored one of the biggest upsets in the sport's recent history by eliminating Spain Wednesday night in the first semifinal of the Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal tournament for next year's World Cup in South Africa.
The 2-0 win courtesy of a heroic defense and goals by teenager Jozy Altidore and Texas-born Clint Dempsey is one of the United States' biggest victories. Spain is ranked No.1 in the world by FIFA (the U.S. team is ranked 14th), is the current European champion and was — until tonight — on a 15-match winning streak.
This is the second miracle this week for the U.S. squad, which had been all but written off after being thoroughly defeated by Italy and Brazil during the group stage. The Americans only qualified on goal difference after thrashing a flat Egyptian team.
On the night of his proudest achievement, U.S. coach Bob Bradley will have to measure his celebration. His son Michael, a midfielder on the team, received a harsh red card for a strong tackle in the dying minutes of the game and will miss what will be the United States' first final in an international competition. His teammates will face either Brazil or South Africa on Sunday.
Jozy Altidore of the U.S. (L) celebrates with teammate Charlie Davies (R) after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup semi-final soccer match against Spain. The U.S. team won a surprise 2-0 victory over Spain. (Jerry Lampen/Reuters)