Photo by ISIphotos.com
When the U.S. national team won the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup U.S. coach Bob Bradley stated how important it was for the U.S. team to play in the 2009 Confederations Cup and face top competition in the same nation where the 2010 World Cup will be.
Well, competition is exactly what the U.S. national team will get.
The USA has been drawn into a loaded Confederations Cup group that includes Brazil, Italy and defending African champions Egypt. The draw, held early on Saturday, also put together a significantly weaker group including Spain, New Zealand, Iraq and host South Africa.
The Confederations Cup takes place from June 14-24 in South Africa. Start saving up for that trip because it should be a good one.
Ultimately, the U.S. national team has gotten exactly what it wanted, a truly tough test a year ahead of the 2010 World Cup. You can't put a value on the experience the team will get playing in what is essentially a test run in a World Cup format. If the U.S. team can perform well in a group that strong, it will bode well for the team's chances in 2010.
There are so many story lines that could emerge from the tournament, among them the possible first meeting between American-born Italian national team striker Giuseppe Rossi and the national team he passed on playing for in a re-match of the thrilling 2006 World Cup qualifying match (which ended in a 1-1 tie). You also have a chance to be matched up vs. Brazil again after a very competitive 4-2 loss to the Brazilians in Chicago in September of 2007. Then there is Egypt, an exciting attack-minded team that will give the strong U.S. defense all it can handle.
What do you think of the draw. Excited to see such a tough group? Does the group make it more likely that you might make it to South Africa? Do you see the U.S. national team advancing out of that loaded group?
Share your thoughts below.