The 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup gave United States soccer fans a wild ride. The US qualified for the tournament by virtue of their 2007 Gold Cup triumph, but it initially seemed like they would be in store for an early exit.
The United States dropped its first two group stage matches to Italy and Brazil by the scores of 3-1 and 3-0 respectively. As a result, the Americans needed to win their third game against Egypt by at least three goals, while also having Italy lose to Brazil by at least three goals in order to have a chance at qualifying for the next round. Almost miraculously, both outcomes occurred, as the final games of the group stage each ended 3-0.
What happened next was almost equally improbable, as the United States triumphed over the defending European Champion Spain 2-0. The Spanish, at the time, topped FIFA’s world rankings and were in the midst of a record 15-match winning streak and 35-match unbeaten streak (tied for the longest ever).
Undaunted, goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the United States the stunning result.
Up next for the team was Brazil in the final, where it looked at first like yet another upset would take place. In the end, however, the US could not hold on to its 2-0 halftime lead and fell to the Seleção 3-2.
Still, the win against Spain, who since have won the World Cup and another European title, remains an impressive one for the United States.