Go team USA!!
American players applauded each other and their fans. Their supporters cheered loudly and proudly waved the red, white and blue.
Gaining a rare victory over a soccer power, the United States beat Italy 1-0 Wednesday night on Clint Dempsey’s goal in the 55th minute for the Americans’ first win over the Azzurri in 11 games over 78 years.
“It’s a work in progress,” Dempsey said. “I like to think that we’re closing the gap and hopefully one day we can do something special.”
A Texan who has become an increasingly important element of the American team, Dempsey put a right-footed shot from just inside the penalty area past an outstretched hand of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Fabian Johnson had crossed to Jozy Altidore, who with his back to the goal against Italy’s Andrea Barzagli touched the ball back toward the top of the area.
“I think we look like a top team in the sense where we have one chance and we’re going to make it count,” Altidore said. “I think it’s a big step in the right direction.”
After returning to the World Cup for the first time in 40 years in 1990 and advancing to the quarterfinals in 2002, the Americans have struggled to make additional progress. They were knocked out in the first round of the 2006 World Cup and the second round of the 2010 tournament, eliminated both times with defeats to Ghana. They wasted a two-goal lead against Mexico last June and lost 4-2 in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, their regional championship.
That prompted the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire coach Bob Bradley in July and replace him with Jurgen Klinsmann, the former German national team star player and coach who has lived in California for more than a decade.
“It’s historic for us beating a team of Italy’s level,” Klinsmann said. “If you beat Italy on their own soil then that means a lot. … Obviously as a coach you’re pleased because you see them progressing, you see young players stepping up and playing against these amazing, experienced Italian players who have won the World Cup and played big tournaments year in and year out. Obviously it was a big step for us.”
That’s definitely a great look. Good for them!