Posted on: June 22, 2009 12:27 pm

Confed Cup - SA 09 - Group Phase Power Rankings

Well, the semi-finals are set. The US will take on Spain this Wednesday and Brazil and the hosts South Africa will meet on Thursday to set up the finals and third place game. But, there are four teams that have been eliminated here, where is their place in all of this? Well, how about a quick power ranking of all the teams so far.

1 - Brazil (3-0-0, 9 pts, 1st Group B) - Brazil takes the top spot in our rankings, mainly because of strength of schedule. They annhiliated the Italians 3-0 yesterday, eliminating the Azzurri in stunning fashion. Brazil might not have played consistently throughout this tournament and yes, they were outplayed by Egypt, but they played three incredibly tough games in a tournament setting and after a scary start, played to their normal, dominant form, something that had been lacking in thier CONEMBOL qualifying efforts recently in my opinion.

2 - Spain (3-0-0, 9 pts, 1st Group A) - What else can I say here? Spain handled thier business, nothing more. They played comfortably in front most of their matches, say for the 1-0 win over Iraq. The were favored to win this group and rightfully so, they did what they needed to do and now play the US in the semis. And somewhere I bet the Spanish players are licking their chops, thanking Brazil for taking out the Italians. They can't overlook the US here. 35-match unbeaten and a 15-match winning streak, both records, are on the line.

3 - Egypt (1-0-2, 3 pts, 4th Group B) - Eagle, you can't honestly rank the "worst" team from Group B third overall. Um, yes I can. I can do what ever I want. Egypt came out and outplayed two teams ranked in the top 10 in the FIFA world rankings. Were it not for a late Brazil goal and the Pharohs coming out slightly flat against a pumped up US team, there would be two African teams in the semis. Egypt deserves to be here, there's not a doubt in my mind.

4 - United States (1-0-2, 3 pts, 2nd Group B) - Really, the US could and probably should be lower. But they played Italy tough for 60 minutes, 30 of which they were a man down. That 3-1 loss doesn't do the American's effort justice in my book. They played well when they had too and were able to advance by the skin of their teeth. I just hope this doesn't become a habit for the US team, their last advancement in a major tournament, the '02 World Cup, was lucky as well.

5 - South Africa (1-1-1, 4 pts, 2nd Group A) - I didn't give them much respect at the beginning of this tournament and I'm probably not giving them enough respect now. But South Africa's only victory was against New Zealand, and that's the only reason why they're advancing. I love what the home side has done, but there's not a doubt in my mind that the four teams above them played better opponents and were in better form, including the US, as strange as that sounds. I could put South Africa 4th, ahead of the US, but that would be an injustice. Blame the vuvuzelas.

6 - Iraq (0-1-2, 2 pts, 3rd Group A) - You know what, I like this. Iraq played a solid defensive strategy the whole tournament, played the best out of anyone in their group against Spain. I'm okay with this. Yes, the Iraqis didn't score a goal in the entire tournament. But they only allowed that one goal to Spain. I'm convinced this team can play with anyone and it's a shame that we won't be seeing them in the 2010 World Cup next year. They've already been eliminated in Asian qualifying. Still, this was a fantastic experience for a team that has to play all of it's games on the road.

7 - Italy (1-0-2, 3 pts, 3rd Group B) - This is the team that should be most disappointed right now. They were really out played the entire tournament with the exception of a 30 minute stretch against a 10-man US side. There's no reason to be down 3-0 at halftime in a game where a tie gets you to the next round. Sure, if the Italians won they had a chance to win the group, but they would have needed at least a 4-0 win, and maybe more, to do so. They could have played for a tie, taken a page out of Iraq's book and played 9 guys behind the ball the whole game. Instead, they're crashing and burning. I must note again that I picked them to win it all. Shame on me. This is what happens to teams that I pick to win and greatly underachieve. They go to the doghouse. But sadly, I can't put them last...

8 - New Zealand (0-2-1, 1 pt, 4th Group A) - I like the Kiwis, I really do. But I can't condone a celebration of a draw when you've already been eliminated from the tournament. That's disrespectful in my book, especially since they had just eliminated Iraq in the process. Aside from that, this team did play well in that final match and I can allow them to celebrate a little bit. They have yet to win a game in a major FIFA tournament, so a draw against a very good Iraq team is still a credible part of a nice resume this team is building up. They, like Iraq, didn't score in the tournament and aside from a miserable 5-0 dismantling by Spain, the Kiwis will take a great experience as they try to qualify in 2010.

If you'd like to debate this rankings feel free to comment below. Please be respectful and give insightful reasons to your opinions. I have already been called an idiot more times than I can count and I don't need reminding.

I'll be back with a semi-final preview tomorrow for both games, as well as predictions. Sadly, I'm going to be missing the US-Spain game live due to a doctor's appointment and I'm not DVR'ing the game. Why? Because the only game I didn't DVR was the one against Egypt. That game turned out really well. The other two, um, not so much. Probably will break out the running commentary again for the Brazil-South Africa game, but no guarantees. Until then, feel free to check out the rest of my Confederations Cup entries.
Posted on: June 15, 2009 10:54 am
Edited on: June 15, 2009 11:53 am

Egypt - Brazil - 2nd Half - LIVE Commentary

ESPN2's halftime show with Rece Davis and Alexi Lalas. We get a look at the Brazilian goals with ESPN's Axis feature. And I'm reminded that I won't be watching USA-Italy game at 2:30 PM. I'm not bitter or anything. Back with the 2nd Half in a few minutes.

Click here for the 1st Half Commentary.

46' - And we're underway again here from South Africa. It doesn't take long for the end-to-end play to start up again.

48' - Kaka recieves a pass from the right wing, but he's unable to control it and it's clear away by Egypt, who quickly hass the ball in Brazil's half.

49' - Several crosses from the wing can't find a target and Brazil will have a goal kick as the Egyptian attack stalls.

50' - Robinho is fouled about 30 yards out. Egypt has had problems with set pieces all day, it's the reason they're behind 3-1. Alves' effort on the free kick is a poor one.

51' - SUBSTIUTION - Egypt - Ahmed Eid is on for the captian, Hassan. The captian's armband goes to the Egyptians veteran keeper, El Hadary. Clearly a tactical substitution as Aid jumps right into the attack.

54' - GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Egypt is back in it!!! Mohamed Shawky rips a shot home from the top of the box and it's 3-2!!!


58' - I am just stunned. Eygpt with more fantastic play on the wing lead to the first goal and then a brilliant counter right off the restart gets the Pharohs level. What a game this is shaping up to be. Eid clearly making a difference on the attacking end for Egypt.

60' - Kaka is one-on-one with the Egyptian defense, but he can't get through the last defender and the ball is cleared.

61' - Fabiano wins a corner for Brazil. Referee telling the players in the box to calm down a little. The corner comes to Lucio who tries valiantly to put a shot on net, but he was in an awkward position on the far post.

62' - Counter by Egypt, they're holding nicely in the midfield level, but a give and go is stopped nicely by the Brazilians

63' - SUBSTITUTION - Brazil - Double Switch, Ramirez and Pato on, Elano and Robinho off. ESPN2's commentators mention the altitude that this game is being played at and how that might be a factor.

65' - Egypt holding nicely in the attacking third, Zidan trying to get around the defense at the top of the box. He passes out to the right wing and the cross is just over the head of the attacker flashing to the post.

66' - Brazil comes right back and a cross to Alves is just in front of him on the far post and out for a goal kick. The end to end play continuing here again. Brazil is pinned back in its defensive third, throw in to Eygpt in the midfield now.

68' - Eid with a shifty back heel through ball, but it's too strong and it's out of bounds. That could have been a fantastic 1-2 play, give and go, but instead it's just a nice idea that didn't work. Brazil now having trouble possessing the ball, the two teams seemed to have switched mentalities at half time.

70' - Perhaps I spoke too soon, Brazil with possession inside the box, a pass out wide and a cross finds Pato, but the headed effort is well high of the net. Still a fantastic match so far, I have to admit, Egypt has earned this draw here in the second half.

72' - Good run by Brazil, Kaka's pass is deflected just enough and it's cleared away by Egypt. The Pharohs counter but they don't have the numbers on the attack and it stalls.

73' - Egypt not pressing on the attack as much now. They're leaving numbers to defend the ball now. Shawky will have to come off the field, but he appears to be okay and should come back on.

75' - Lucio with a poor touch on the defensive end, but the touch is out of bounds by Egypt for a throw-in.

75' - SUBSTITUTION - Egypt - Rabbou off, Al Muhamadi on. Tactical sub. Shawky is back on the field as well after recieving treatment.

77' - Kaka with a fantastic effort on a volleyed shot, but it's over the bar. Kaka is going to have to get Brazil back in front, he's been keying the Brazilian attack all half and seems to be the only one who can create up front.

78' - El Hadary with a sliding pick-up off his line and he collides with a Brazilian attacker and stays down. He recieves a once over from the trainers and is right back up to take the free kick.

80' - A cross from the right wing is cleared by Brazil for a corner. Egypt searching for another goal here in the second half. This is a nice build-up.

81' - Cesar catches a hard shot from Egypt, but it's right at him and he has no trouble with it. Egypt dominating possession now. Can they get out in front with less than ten minutes to go?

82' - Lucio clears the cross by Eid for another corner. Egypt is pressing now. Diving header from Shawky is blocked. Al Muhamadi's shot is just over the bar for a goal kick.

84' - SUBSTITUTION - Brazil - Santos on, Kleber off.

86' - Fantastic run by Kaka. He would have been clear to goal but not for a fantastic tackle by Gomaa. Great sliding challenge to deny Kaka his second goal and Brazil the lead.

87' - Just a few minutes left and then stoppage time. Is there a winner in the forecast?

87' - Alves is taken down by Moawad just outside the box and we have our first booking of the match, as Moawad recieves a yellow for a poor challenge and rightfully so. Free kick to Brazil, again in a dangerous spot.

89' - PENALTY!!! Brazil's corner results in a header, but it's cleared off the goal line by a handball. Al Muhamadi is sent off for a deliberate handball in the box. The right decision by the referee. Kaka to take the penalty for Brazil.

90' - GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Kaka converts the penalty and puts Brazil back in front. El Hadary guessed right, but it's a fantastic penalty by Kaka in to the right post. Brazil seemingly going to steal all three points here. Egypt is down to 10-men as well.

90'+3 - Time running out for Egypt. A heartbreaker for them if the scoring stands. They've played better than Brazil in my opinion, but Egypt's inability to defend set pieces cost them.

90'+4 - Eid tries his best with a low shot but Cesar saves it and Lucio clears it away.

90'+5 - FULL TIME! That's the final whistle and Brazil escapes with three points. A fantastic match all-around. But it three points to Brazil, as they take the Group B opener 4-3 over Egypt.

Category: Soccer
Posted on: June 15, 2009 10:06 am
Edited on: June 15, 2009 10:56 am

Egypt vs. Brazil - 1st Half LIVE Commentary

Okay, we're live with ESPN 2's soccer team. Eygpt and Brazil. I'm going to update this every 5 minutes or so.

1' - Kickoff. Brazil takes it wearing yellow, Egypt in red. Still trying to find a starting lineup for both sides, but no luck so far.

LINEUPS - Brazil - Cesar, Juan, Kleber, Alves, Lucio, Silva, Kaka, Elano, Melo, Fabiano, Robihno
LINEUPS - Egypt - El Hadary, Gomaa, Saidi, Moawad, Said, Fathi, Aboutrika, Rabou, Ahmed, Shawky, Zidan

2' - Brazil pressing but all it's created is a few long balls and goal kicks for Egypt.

4' - Brazil ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, Egypt 40th. Also, Egypt's nickname is the Pharohs. Not as good as the New Zealand Kiwis but it's good. Still no real attack, but Brazil is controlling the pace.

5' - GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Egypt with some sloppy clearance and Kaka slots it home past the keeper. 1-0 Brazil!

7' - Egypt shouldn't have allowed that goal. Poor tackling as Kaka poked one over the defense as two Egyptian defenders took weak hacks at the ball.

9' - GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Egypt has equalized!!! Great cross from the right wing and Mohammed Zidan heads it home! 1-1!

10' - Both teams have scored on their first real chance of the game. Fantastic play here early, both teams having solid build up before their goals.

11' - Free kick to Brazil as Egypt fouls about 30 yards from the goal.

12' - GOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Brazil is back in front!!! The free kick is headed in by Luis Fabiano and it's 2-1! That's three chances in the game, and three goals.

13' - Glancing header gets into the net off the Egyptian keeper's finger tips. Brazil has a shot blocked from about 20 yards out after they get control after the restart.

15' - Fabiano is fouled on the right wing and Brazil has another free kick in the attacking third. It's played short and eventually a cross from the left wing goes over everyone and out of play for a goal kick.

16' - Brazil still controlling most of the pace here early. Egypt's only buildup did lead to a goal, but they're having a hard time keeping possession.

18' - Brazil is dominating the midfield play right now. They're holding possession and the ball always seems to be on Egypt's half of the field. Foul at midfield, free kick to Egypt.

20' - Egypt with a nice run down the left flank as Brazil clears the cross for a corner. Counter attack by Brazil but Kaka is double-teamed and loses the ball at Egypt's endline.

21' - Kaka with a low strike from 30 yards but it's stopped by a sliding effort by the Egyptian keeper. Egypt getting more of the possession now, ball going back and forth, possession changing seemingly every few seconds.

23' - Egypt with a nice tackle on a through ball and it's out for a Braziliam corner. The cross is fantastic, poor marking by the Egyptian defense as a clean header by the Brazilians goes over the bar.

25' - Kaka is fouled just outside the box, dangerous free kick from about 20 yards here.

26' - It's struck on goal, but right at the keeper. Elano hit it well, but both keepers finding their form after the early scoring spree.

27' - Good through ball by Egypt but the it's just ahead of the attacker. Goal kick to Brazil.

30' - Long strike from the Egyptians goes wide. Egypt gets it back and another long strike is easily handled by Cesar in goal.

32' - Aboutrika gets the ball ahead of the Brazilian defense, but is unable to get by the trailing defender or get a shot off before he is depossessed. Fantastic chance for Egypt to equalize. They're finding their form here. They won't be a pushover for anyone in this group. They have the support of their fans who have traveled, as well as the local South African fans. They're the home side in Group B, and it is their home continent.

35' - Free kick to Brazil, again in a dangerous spot. Egypt captian lucky to escape without a card for that challenge. Free kick is saved brilliantly by El Hadary. Corner to Brazil.

37' - GOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! Elano takes the corner and it's right to Juan who heads it home. He missed one earlier over the bar, but this one is headed past El Hadary. Again poor marking by the Pharohs on a corner and it's 3-1.

39' - Brazil has two goals on set pieces now. With out those two goals, Egypt would be in this match. They've played rather well up to this point, especially after the fast start to this game. Five minutes to half.

41' - Robinho steals in at the midfield, but he's dispossesses and then fouls the defender.

43' - Egypt pressing now, they've got a nice build up going here before half. Several strong runs and crosses going into the Brazilian third.

44' - Brazil seems content to head into the half up 3-1 and I'm not surprised. They've been fantastic with the ball in the attacking third today.

45'+ - Stoppage time now, Egypt trying to clear their own half for one last attack. They've used the wings well, cross to the box! Rabou heads it but it's just over the bar. Fantastic chance for Egypt to get one back, but that's going to be it for this half. The referee blows the whistle. 3-1 Brazil after forty-five minutes.

Very fast paced game so far. The key in the play so far has been the possession build up. All of Egypt chances have come after they've held the ball in the Brazilian half. Likewise, Brazil has capitalized on some sloppy Egyptian defending and created off of set pieces for their 3-1 advantage.

Click here for the 2nd Half Commentary.

Category: Soccer
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com