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Brazil hammers U.S. in Confederations Cup

PRETORIA, South Africa - If this was a dress rehearsal fornext year s World Cup, the United States showed it s far fromready.

The U.S. was hammered for the second time in a four-day span atthe Confederations Cup, with Brazil outplaying the Americans 3-0Thursday.

Felipe Melo scored off Maicon s free kick in the seventh minuteand Robinho made it 2-0 in the 20th, completing a counterattackthat began when DaMarcus Beasley failed to come up with a shortcorner kick. Maicon added the third goal in the 62nd.

The United States (0-2) finished a man short for the secondstraight game. Sacha Kljestan was ejected by Swiss referee MassimoBusacca in the 57th minute for a rough foul on Ramires.

Tentative start, goal on the set piece, U.S. coach BobBradley said. Just an awfully difficult way to start vs.Brazil.

Combined with an opening 3-1 loss to Italy on Monday, the defeatput the United States on the verge of first-round elimination.While the U.S. plays Egypt on Sunday, the Americans would have nochance to advance if Italy gained at least a tie against theEgyptians later Thursday.

Missing injured defenders Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo andFrankie Hejduk, the U.S. been shaky in the back. Melo s goal markedthe third time in four matches the United States fell behind withinthe first seven minutes.

The U.S. has never overcome a deficit against Brazil, whichimproved to 13-1 in head-to-head meetings and has outscored theUnited States 26-8. The lone American victory was a 1-0 upset atthe 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and CentralAmerica and the Caribbean.

Brazil (2-0), the defending Confederations Cup champion and afive-time World Cup winner, opened with a 4-3 victory over Egyptand is assured a berth in the semifinals going into its finalfirst-round match, against Italy on Sunday.

Melo beat defender Jonathan Spector for the first goal, takingMaicon s 25-yard free kick following a foul by Michael Bradley andheading it past goalkeeper Tim Howard from about 5 yards.

The second goal came on an end-to-end effort after Beasleyfailed to read Landon Donovan s short corner kick. Andres Santoscleared to Kaka, the 2007 FIFA player to the year, who touched theball to Ramires. He dribbled 50 yards upfield before dishing off toRobinho.

Maicon got the third goal off passes from Kaka and Ramires, withthe last pass bouncing off defender Jonathan Bornstein right by thegoal.

The closest the U.S. came to scoring was when second-halfsubstitutes Benny Feilhaber and Conor Casey hit the crossbar in thefinal 10 minutes.

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