Quick Facts about United States
- Population: 309 million
- Capital: Washington, D.C.
- Primary Language: English
- Currency: Dollar
- Continent: North America
- Area: 3,794,101 sq. miles
Team Profile: United States
Appearances at finals
1930: Third place
1934: Round 1
1950: Round 1
1990: Round 1
1994: Round of 16
1998: Round 1
2006: Round 1
Overall record: Played 25, Won 6, Drawn 3, Lost 16
Best performance: The U.S. finished third in its first World Cup -- back in 1930. The Americans opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Belgium -- their first victory on soccer's grand stage. The U.S. added another 3-0 win over Paraguay before losing to Argentina 6-1 in the semifinals.
Still, in modern times, don't forget the U.S.'s run to the quarters in 2002. The upstarts opened the tournament by shocking Portugal 3-2, finishing 1-1-1 in pool play. The run continued with a 2-0 win over Mexico in the round of 16, before a loss to Germany in the quarterfinals.
Most appearances: Cobi Jones, 1994, 1998, 2002, and Earnie Stewart, 1994, 1998, 2002 (11).
Most goals at finals: Bert Patenaude (4) 1930; Brian McBride (3) 1998, 2002, 2006.
World Cup high: The so-called "Miracle on Grass." The U.S. beat a powerhouse England team 1-0 in the first round of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.
Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian-American, scored the game winner in the 37th minute. The U.S. entered the game on a seven-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Brits were the favorite to win the Cup. Both teams failed to escape the first round.
World Cup low: How's this for a drought? After 1950 and the big Brit win, the U.S. wouldn't qualify for another World Cup for 40 years.
There is also the debacle at the 1998 Cup in France. Coming off a round of 16 showing four years earlier and talking big, the U.S. went 0-3, losing to Germany (2-0), Iran (2-1) and Yugoslavia (1-0).
A first-round loss three years ago was disappointing after the 2002 run. The U.S. went 0-2-1 in Germany, scoring just two goals.
World Cup legend: Take your pick. Midfielder Claudio Reyna and forward Brian McBride will always be remembered for their toughness and grit.
Reyna played in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. He was named to the World Cup all-tournament team in 2002. Reyna announced his retirement from the U.S. team a day after the 2006 World Cup.
McBride also played in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. He is the only American ever to score goals in two World Cups (1998, 2002).
The story so far: Let's just say the U.S. doesn't have the same dossier as, say, Brazil or Italy. However, the U.S. has established itself as a staple at the World Cup, qualifying for the Cup the past six times.
The U.S.'s best result came 79 years ago in its first Cup when the red, white and blue finished third. It's still the best showing for any team outside the European and South American confederations. The U.S. followed up its third-place showing in 1930 by getting booted in the first round four years later.
The side would not return to the world party for 16 years. And the reward for making it all the way back to relevance? The U.S. drew power England in its first game. Oddsmakers made the Brits 3-1 favorites to win the tournament. Meanwhile, the U.S. checked in with 500-1 odds, and had lost seven games in a row by a combined score of 45-2.
England rolled out some of the best players in the world. The U.S. countered with part-time players who held down real jobs. Sorry Al Michaels, but do you believe in miracles?
The U.S. won 1-0 on a 37th-minute goal by Joe Gaetjens. Both the U.S. and England failed to escape the first round. The Americans were eliminated from the tournament after losing to Chile 5-2. Forty long years would pass before the U.S. would qualify for the World Cup again.
There would be no miracles this time. The U.S. went 0-3 at "Italia 90," losing to Czechoslovakia (5-1), Austria (2-1) and Italy (1-0). Still, there would be hope for the game in the U.S.
In perhaps its biggest play on or off the field, the U.S. earned the right to host the 1994 World Cup. The venues were East Rutherford, N.J.; Detroit; Orlando, Fla.; Dallas; Boston; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and Pasadena, Calif. The average attendance for the tournament was 69,000 with a total attendance of 3.6 million.
Even better, the hosts had a good showing. The U.S. went 1-1-1 in pool play, defeating Colombia 2-1 with the help of Andres Escobar's own goal. The upstart Americans lost to eventual champ Brazil 1-0 in the round of 16 at Stanford Stadium.
Bringing the World Cup to U.S. soil was supposed to generate more interest in the sport and, although it took some time, it seemingly has. Having the biggest event in the world here was also supposed to reverse the fortunes of U.S. soccer. That's been a mixed bag since.
In addition to its round of 16 run in 1994, the U.S. reached the quarterfinals in 2002. The U.S. opened the 2002 Cup by shocking Portugal 3-2 and followed that up with a 1-1 tie with Korea. For good measure, the U.S. blanked rival Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16. The run finally came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Germany in the quarterfinals.
While the 1994 and 2002 results were energizing, the flameouts that followed were buzz kills. The U.S. went 0-3 in the 1998 World Cup and 0-2-1 in 2006. The team scored a combined three goals in those two tournaments.
That brings us to 2010 in South Africa: The proud and often underestimated U.S. team gets another shot at redemption on the grand stage. A pool play-and-out finish for Bob Bradley and his charges would be viewed as a colossal failure.
Qualification: The Americans finished first in the final round standings in CONCACAF for the second straight cycle with a 6-2-2 record, squeaking by Mexico (6-3-1). And the U.S.'s run past El Tri didn't come without drama.
Enter defender Jonathan Bornstein.
Bornstein's goal in stoppage time gave the U.S. a 2-2 tie with Costa Rica and an important point on Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, El Tri tied Trinidad & Tobago in Port-of-Spain.
The drama in D.C. also shook up the rest of the standings. Honduras won at El Salvador and passed Costa Rica to take the third and final spot in the World Cup. The U.S. had clinched its berth in the World Cup with a 3-2 win at Honduras four days earlier. Landon Donovan scored the game winner in the 71st minute and Conor Casey added two goals.
Qualifying record: GP 10, W 6, D 2, L 2, GF 19, GA 13, 20 points (13-3-2 during entire cycle)
Most appearances: Carlos Bocanegra and Michael Bradley (15)
Top goal scorer: Jozy Altidore scored six of the U.S.'s 42 goals. He scored two of them off the bench. Altidore's hat trick on April 1, 2009, against Trinidad & Tobago was the fourth in World Cup qualifying for the U.S. Aldo "Buff" Donelli (1934 versus Mexico), Peter Millar (1968 versus Bermuda) and Eddie Johnson (2004 versus Panama) are the others to pull off the trick.