spAIN hope to redeem image

THE US and their devotees went into the Bloemfontein cauldron hoping for a miracle against Spain on Wednesday night and it's history that they achieved that rare feat against the world's No 1 team.

THE US and their devotees went into the Bloemfontein cauldron hoping for a miracle against Spain on Wednesday night and it's history that they achieved that rare feat against the world's No 1 team.

The Americans beat La Roja 2-0 at Free State Stadium.

Now Spain are hoping to restore some pride by winning the playoff for third place on Sunday.

"We will go all out to win the playoff match and start all over again," Spain forward Fernando Torres said after their defeat against the US.

"What hurts most is going out in the semifinals of a big competition, not the end of the run.

"We knew that we couldn't possibly win every single game from now to the end of our careers and that the run would have to come to an end some day.

"We just didn't expect it to be here in South Africa, but that's the way it is. These things happen when you least expect them," the Liverpool attacker told Fifa.com.

Spain, who are also the European champions, went into Wednesday's match on a record run of 15 consecutive wins and were hoping to eclipse Brazil's 35-match unbeaten record set between December 1993 and January 1996.

The Spanish surpassed the previous record of 14 consecutive wins held by Australia, France and Brazil when they beat hosts South Africa 2-0 at the same Bloemfontein venue on Saturday night.

The defeat for Spain was a bitter pill to swallow for the team and their supporters, who were hoping for a dream match-up against Brazil in the final.

Though some of their players were cautious in their comments before their clash against the US, most were convinced they would brush aside coach Bob Bradley's men.

It seemed they had won the match long before the kickoff and should have learnt a lesson - that teams don't win matches because of their profile. They should have also learnt that teams don't win matches because they are widely tipped to prevail.

Spain may also have read too much into their previous three matches with the US, in which they were unbeaten.

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