The U.S., champs of North and Central America Region were all but mathematically eliminated from the Confederations Cup in South Africa, getting beat soundly 3-1 by Italy scoring some uncharateristic cannon shots from long range, then 3-0 by Brazil in their 2nd game.
They were embarrassing to watch. Only New Zealand looked sorrier.
Although they looked like they had a chance against Italy, the U.S. played like boys against the Brazilian men. Italy never did look that good, and it turns out they aren't. They got the benefit of a political red card to a U.S. kid, and then to add insult, their big scorer was a kid born in New Jersey, who snubbed playing for the Stars and Stripes to try out for Italy's Azzurri.
Basically the U.S. needed to hammer Egypt by at least 3 goals, an Egypt who fought Brazil to a standstill before a bad-luck P.K. in injury time; and then beat Italy 1-0 in their 2nd game.
And then the U.S. had to hope that Brazil would crush Italy to the tune of 3-0. Plus the referees had been calling everything they could against the Americans. Vegas odds on that would be something like 500 to 1, and that's charitable.
Except that's exactly what happened. A very good Egypt team ran out of gas and heart, and the U.S. looked like they knew their business. And Brazil humiliated Italy worse than they had the U.S. At the end of the day, the U.S. won by tiebreaker to get the dubious honor of playing currently the best team in the world, Spain, La Furia Roja, on Wednesday.
Basically, the tournament is a preview of some of the best teams that will be in the World Cup this time next year, and it's got to be a good learning experience for the U.S. When they come out and play with heart, they make up for the lack of skill compared to other nations.