GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) _ Before a venomous anti-American crowd Wednesday night, a goal by Ronaldinho lifted Brazil over a surprisingly strong American team 1-0.
The Americans held back the offense of the more seasoned Brazilian team, improving their chances of advancing to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup. The Brazilians are almost assured a berth.
The United States came out fighting and never gave up, dominating possession for much of the game and taking many shots on goal.
But the Brazilians exploited their opportunities better, and in the 12th minute Ronaldinho headed a pass from Serginho into the goal.
The United States missed its best chance in the 72nd minute, when Joe-Max Moore’s penalty kick went straight into goalkeeper Dida’s hands.
Both teams marked the other’s players closely. The Brazilians, with a deeper bench, speeded up the game wherever they could to tire the Americans, while the Americans often slowed it down.
The rowdy crowd was overwhelmingly with the Brazilians, whistling catcalls during ``The Star-Spangled Banner″ and chanting ``Brazil! Brazil!″ The fans erupted with every Brazilian offensive and booed when the Americans got the ball.
The Guadalajara area is home to many American immigrants, and people resent the treatment Hispanics receive up north. At the same time, Brazil was based in Guadalajara in its 1970 World Cup victory and again in the 1986 World Cup.
``America has us very oppressed,″ said Luis Damazo, a 42-year-old merchant. ``This is the only place where we can let out our feelings.″
This victory, together with Brazil’s 4-0 rout of Germany on Saturday, virtually guaranteed the Brazilians a spot in the semifinals. The other semifinal spot will be determined Friday between the United States and Germany, which beat New Zealand 2-0 earlier Wednesday.