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."
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