Hero Howard

Football in the United States will be boosted by the Americans unexpectedly beating the mighty Spain. We’re talking soccer here, not their version of football, aka gridiron.

That 2-0 victory in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup in South Africa on Wednesday has thrust the Americans up the bookies’ rankings as possible World Cup winners next year, but they’re still firm outsiders.

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey were the US goal scorers. Significantly, Altidore plays in the Spanish league for Villarreal and Dempsey is at Premiership side Fulham. It’s not as if they play second tier football.

It will be interesting to see how the US do against the winners of last night’s other semi between Brazil and South Africa.

Going into this match Spain had a formidable record. Majestic European champions and unbeaten in 35 matches stretching back to November 2006, they also boasted some of the world’s finest players in Xavi, David Villa, Carles Puyol and Fernando Torres, but they just could not find the formula to break down the resilient US side.

American keeper Tim Howard really earned his match fee. Not bad for a Premiership keeper who was written off a few years ago when discarded by Manchester United.

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