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What is the USMNT’s World Cup record and best finish?

Gregg Berhalter’s men go into the World Cup with the objective of clinching a spot among the top 16 national teams.

Gregg Berhalter’s men go into the World Cup with the objective of grabbing a spot among the best 16 national teams.

The USMNT are heading to Qatar with a young but experienced squad that will be aiming to impress at the World Cup.

Team USA, who failed to qualify for the last World Cup in Russia 2018 - the first time the tournament had no American team since 1986 - won’t have an easy group stage, as they will be competing against England, Wales, and Iran in Group B.

USA’s best finish at a World Cup

Critics claim that the USMNT will fail to make it through to the last 16; the side will travel to the Gulf nation with the hope of proving them wrong.

Gregg Berhalter’s men, who recently recorded disappointing results against Japan (2-0) and Saudi Arabia (0-0), will probably try to emulate what their colleagues did back in 1930.

Back then, the USMNT impressed everyone in Uruguay, where the tournament was held, with a third-place finish at what was the inaugural World Cup.

The ‘American dream’ ended with a painful 6-1 loss to Argentina in the semifinals after wins over Belgium and Paraguay.

The USMNT’s World Cup results

After being so close to a World Cup final, Team USA failed to make it past the 16 best teams in the world four years later, and were eliminated from the competition by the hosts Italy with an embarrassing 7-1 scoreline to their name.

In 1938, the Americans withdrew from the World Cup in France but returned in the first post-World War II tournament in Brazil in 1950.

Joe Gaetjens’ goal in Belo Horizonte defeated England, inventors of the game and favourites to lift the trophy back then.

However, that exploit didn’t help the team to progress to further rounds, as they failed to reach the qualifying rounds.

After failing to reach the next nine World Cups -40 years later-, they managed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup that took place in Italy, but their performance was very disappointing, as they lost all three games in the group stage against Czechoslovakia, Italy, and Austria.

From 1990 to 2018, the Americans were ever-present at the competition, reaching out of the group stages on every try save the trip to Italy, France 1998 (where they finished last out of the 32 qualified nations), and Germany 2006.

After their spectacular run in 1930, Team USA’s second-best record at a World Cup came in 2002, when the Americans defeated Portugal and Poland in the group stage before beating Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16. However, Germany stopped them in the quarter-finals with a Michael Ballack goal.

After a bad 2006 group stage performance in Germany, in 2010 and 2014 they reached the last 16, but were kicked out of the competition by Ghana and Belgium, respectively.


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