JOHANNESBURG, (AFP) - The United States, described as miracle workers by FIFA president Sepp Blatter after stunning wins over Egypt and Spain, feel another one coming up in Sunday's Confederations Cup final against Brazil.
The US team looked dead and buried going into their last Group B game after heavy defeats to Brazil and Italy, but Bob Bradley's side caught fire to burn off the Egyptians 3-0 and smother Spain 2-0.
That earned them a second crack at Brazil, with Bradley predicting another upset as the US close in on their first major international honour.
"I believe when we play as a team and find the right balance between being aggressive and smart then yes we're confident (of another miracle)," he said at the team's Johannesburg hotel on Friday.
Bradley was in relaxed mood at the press conference, insisting on swooping seats with defender Carlos Bocanegra joking: "You play on the left so you should sit here."
Rennes left-back Bocanegra will have his work cut out dealing with the likes of Brazil's Maicon charging down his side of the pitch but the California-born former UCLA student reckons the US can pull off what would be a historic victory.
Reflecting on his side's hiding against the holders in the first round Bocanegra, whose father is Mexican, said: "The first time we played them we came out a bit timid.
"We almost gave them too much respect and sat back too much.
"We felt we needed to change something in our next game.
"Against Egypt we did a great job with energy from the start, and carried that over to the game with Spain.
"We made it difficult for them instead of sitting back and absorbing pressure for 90 minutes.
"It's important to start the game with a lot of energy - we can't sit back and let Brazil control the match."
With the US's semi-final on Wednesday they have one more day to recover than Brazil with Bocanegra suggesting: "The extra day's rest is nice but it won't make a big difference - Brazil are used to quick turnarounds and it doesn't take much to recover for a final!"
Michael Bradley, the coach's son who picked up a harsh red card against Spain, misses out with the Borussia Moenchengladbach midfielder's place due to be taken by Benny Feilhaber.
The Stars and Stripes' unlikely journey at this World Cup warm-up has triggered huge interest back home and Bradley senior spelled out what was at stake on Sunday at Ellis Park.
"It would be very important if we won. We won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, that's the reason we're here, but to win a competition playing against the likes of Spain, Italy, Egypt and Brazil would be very special."
Bradley then gave his thoughts on Brazil's performance in the eleventh hour 1-0 win over hosts South Africa in Thursday's semi-final.
"South Africa did a good job in terms of at times frustrating Brazil, they kept the distance between their back line and midfield very tight. It took a great free kick too secure their place in the final."
Reflecting on the attention his side are attracting on the other side of the Atlantic he noted: "Over the last few days the players will tell you they've had lots of friends who have sent them texts, and e-mails and twitters and facebook whatever, all saying how excited they are and telling the players what a good job they're doing and wishing them luck."
|Essam El Hadary|
|Ahmed Samir Farag|
|Ahmed El Mohamady||83'|
|Mohamed Abo Trika|
|Hosny Abd Rabo|
|Coach: Hassan Shehata|
for Ahmed Eid 50'
for Ahmed Fathy 55'
for Ahmed Abdelghani 62'
|Griezmann hails ´brilliant´ Gameiro as Atletico see off Leverkusen|
|Simeone all smiles after Atletico dismantle Leverkusen|
|Spot-kick revision pays off for Caballero|
|Championship Review: Huddersfield boost top-two hopes, Wednesday beaten|
|Toprak laments bad result as Leverkusen lose at home to Atletico|
|Aguero grapples for glory as strikers shine in Manchester City v Monaco|
|Bayer Leverkusen 2 Atletico Madrid 4: Simeone´s side in control|
|Manchester City 5 Monaco 3: Guardiola´s side prevail in all-time classic|
|AFC Champions League Review: Al Rayyan and Al Ahli off to winning starts|
|Ranieri: Sevilla game can be a turning point for Leicester|
|Allegri confirms Bonucci absence after row|
|Nuno confident Porto can beat Juventus|
|Matthaus encourages Gotze to stay at Dortmund|
|Martial: I love Manchester United and I want to stay|
|I would never force out Manchester United legend Rooney - Mourinho|
|Anderlecht insist Tielemans not leaving on the cheap|
|Leicester can´t afford to live in the past, warns Sampaoli|
|Porto´s home comforts, shot-shy Leicester & Sevilla meet - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Puyol backs Barcelona for Champions League miracle|
|Sutton´s pie-munching keeper Shaw resigns|
|Coyle leaves struggling Blackburn|
|Sampaoli noncommittal on Sevilla future despite contract offer|
|Higuain backs Dybala to become ´among the best in the world´|
|Ancelotti escapes punishment for middle finger|
|Pie-eating Sutton goalkeeper´s antics under investigation|
|AFC Champions League Review: 2014 winners Wanderers thrashed, Hulk inspires 10 men|
|Zidane reveals Ronaldo´s favourite position|
|Lippi backs Allegri for Juve stay|
|Zidane: Isco knows I love him|
|Rooney returns to United training|
|Higuain confident Juventus can win Champions League|
|Giggs the dream pro-am partner for Manchester United fanatic McIlroy|
|Kane hopes Spurs can get used to Wembley|
|Hazard: I gave everything to come back|
|Like Cantona, Ibrahimovic embraces United pressure - Giggs|
|Wenger: Perez deserves more chances|
|Wenger denies using Sanchez was risky|
|Tite: I wish Messi was born in Brazil|
|Jardim praises ´great striker´ Falcao|
|Reported Barcelona target Sampaoli offered Sevilla extension|
|´Angry´ Messi didn´t celebrate because of criticism – Bauza|
|´He is going to have to do it himself´ – Guardiola backs Aguero|
|Toure backs Sterling and Sane for the top|
|Pique: Barcelona were in deep s*** when Luis Enrique arrived|
|Thoughts of Bayern mauling stopped Wenger from enjoying Arsenal FA Cup win|
|Sutton United 0 Arsenal 2: Perez and Walcott break minnows´ stern resolve|
|Walcott brings up 100 goals for Arsenal|
|Simeone will make late Oblak call for Leverkusen clash|
|AFC Champions League Review: In-form El Arabi gives Lekhwiya dream start, Diop saves Al Ahli|
|Fabinho disagrees with Guardiola over favourites tag|
|Guardiola hails Bielsa as best in the world|
|Jardim insists Monaco will not change style for Manchester City clash|
|Clattenburg´s Premier League career not over yet|
|Dortmund could renew Tuchel deal|
|Chicharito return to form boosts Schmidt´s Leverkusen for Atletico test|
|Iniesta sees Verratti as his successor - Matuidi|
|Ramos did not make history at Sevilla like me - Alves questions Real Madrid captain|
|Vertonghen feels Tottenham deserve silverware|
|Agent denies Lucas Perez exit claims|
|Barcelona forward Neymar to stand trial after losing appeal|
|City history can´t compare to United, Liverpool – De Bruyne wants to make Champions League impressio|
|Europa League the priority for United´s Mata as EFL Cup final looms|
|Winning the FA Cup ´may not save Wenger´|
|Falcao perfect for ´killers´ Monaco - Guardiola wary of Champions League threat to Manchester City|
|Ancelotti asked to explain middle finger gesture|
|Ribery closing in on Bayern Munich return|
|Nani eager for improving Valencia to tackle Real Madrid|
|Rashford eyes Chelsea revenge after huge FA Cup draw|
|Glorious Griezmann and Aguero´s knockout drought - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Otamendi´s agent talks up Real Madrid switch|
|He has to get used to it – Montella reacts to Bacca boos|
|Low hopes to discover Germany´s Luis Suarez|
|Mourinho unsure if Rooney will recover for EFL Cup final|
|Rami rejects talk of Marseille switch|
|Tarnat tips Manchester City´s Sane to become Germany star|
|I don´t see why he should quit - Begovic tips Terry to continue|
|PSG ´weakened´ without Ibrahimovic, claims Monaco´s Bakayoko|
|Low believes in ´locksmith´ Gotze|
|No pain, no gain for Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Barcelona have no idea how to treat players - Dani Alves slams Camp Nou board|
|Low: Germany´s youngsters must be good enough to beat Messi and Ronaldo|
|Mandorlini replaces Juric at Genoa|
|Liverpool could face ´new´ Leicester – Klopp|
|Corchia excited by Bielsa arrival but Lille future remains uncertain|
|Wenger: I threw up after first loss as coach|
|Conte wants fairytale finish for Terry|
|Iniesta: Barcelona haven´t lost faith in Luis Enrique|
|Mourinho knew Ibrahimovic would be ´massive´ for United|
|Ter Stegen doesn´t understand Barcelona fans whistling|
|´He is doing a fantastic job´ – Bartomeu backs Luis Enrique|
|Guardiola slams ´unacceptable´ Wenger treatment|
|Spalletti: Roma goal machine Dzeko now believes he´s world class|
|Emery refuses to blame referee after PSG are held|
|Montella dedicates AC Milan win to Berlusconi|
|The players don´t need whistles – Luis Enrique hits out at fans|