Spain in sight for Specs

Jonathan Spector's United States will have to do something no other team has done since November 15 2006 if they are to reach the FIFA Confederations Cup final in South Africa on Wednesday - beat Spain.

The reigning European champions have not lost since going down to a 1-0 friendly defeat by Romania more than two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, Spain have not been beaten in 35 matches.

Among those 35 games was a friendly international between the Spanish and the US in Santander on 4 June 2008, which the Spanish won 1-0 ahead of their success at UEFA Euro 2008.

At this summer's tournament, which pits the winners of FIFA's various continental competitions against one another, Spain have yet to concede a goal in the three matches they have contested so far. The Spanish cruised through Group A, beating New Zealand 5-0, Iraq 1-0 and South Africa 2-0.

However, the 16-times capped West Ham United defender Spector and his fellow Americans will go into the semi-final in confident mood, having already upset the odds once to reach the last four.

After losing their opening two Group B matches, Bob Bradley's team needed to overcome Egypt and hope Brazil beat Italy in the final round of group matches, complete with a six-goal swing in their favour, to advance. Brazil's 3-0 victory and the Americans identical success against the Africans - capped by Spector's pinpoint cross for his nation's third goal scored by Clint Dempsey - saw Bradley's side move into the knockout stages.

The West Ham right-back is likely to be marking a familiar foe at the Free State Stadium in Mangaung/Bloemfontein in Liverpool left-winger Albert Riera, while Vicente Del Bosque's team could also include Spector's former Manchester United team-mate Gerard Pique, who he played alongside in the Red Devils' Barclays Premier Reserve League title-winning side in 2004/05.

Team-mate Dempsey, who also plies his trade in London with Fulham, has been impressed with the form of 23-year-old Spector, who has played every minute of the Americans' campaign.

"Spector hit a great ball in and I happened to be on the right side of the defender," said Dempsey. "I used my body to get a little bit of space and tried to get my head on it. I put it towards goal, kept it low and it found the back of the net."

Brazil take on hosts South Africa in the other semi-final in Johannesburg on Thursday, with the winners meeting in the final on Sunday 28 June in Johannesburg. A third-place match will be held the same day in Rustenburg.

The US have reached the Confederations Cup semi-finals once before in their history, losing to Mexico in 1999. The Americans also finished third in Saudi Arabia in 1992, but the competition included only four teams that year.