WORLD CUP 2022
What was the United States’ best result at a men’s World Cup?
The USMNT has participated in the World Cup since its inaugural edition and we assess when their best ever performance at the global tournament.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 is the United States men’s team’s 12th appearance at this competition. The first try at the international finals came at the inaugural tournament in Uruguay in 1930.
Interestingly, it still remains the best finish for an American men’s team in history.
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The U.S. had more celebratory moments in the following years, including a stunning win over England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. They also had the honor of hosting the tournament in 1994, pushing the eventual champions Brazil into a feisty round-of-16 meeting.
The 1930s ‘shot-putters’
Anointed ‘the shot-putters’ by the world press due to their strength and ruggedness at the 1930 World Cup, the Americans – including Adelino ‘Billy’ Gonsalves, gossiped to be among his country’s best-ever players – suitably shocked and amazed the then footballing establishment by reaching the semi-final of that year’s tournament.
They lost 6-1 to Argentina in the semi-finals after wins over Belgium and Paraguay. They were celebrated as heroes when they returned home.
The 2002 controversy
At the Asian World Cup, the USA team finished second in Group D, which earned them a date with their arch rival, Mexico, in the round of 16. El Tri didn’t have an answer for the USMNT, who controlled the match’s pace and frustrated their rivals. In the end, the stars and stripes team won with the goals scored by McBride and Donovan, and for the first time, they had won a match in the knockout stage, and they advanced to the quarterfinals.
Everything was set for a quarterfinal match against Germany, a match that was filled with several great chances and one colossal controversy. The controversy happened in the 49th minute when the USMNT had a great chanceto score but Torsten Frings blocked it on the line. However, the USMNT immediately appealed to the referee for a penalty because Frings stopped the ball with his arm.
Replays would show a blatant handball by Frings on the line that prevented the equalizing goal, but the referee did not give a penalty to the United States. While the USMNT had a couple more chances, they ultimately fell 1-0 to Germany.
Germany beat South Korea 1-0 in the semi-final and lost 2-0 to Brazil in the World Cup final.
Historical stats at the World Cup
Through their 11 World Cups ahead of 2022, the United States have played 33 games (with eight wins, 19 losses, and six draws). They’ve scored a sum of 37 goals while conceding 62.
With them qualifying for their 12th FIFA World Cup in Qatar this year, the USA stays the team from the CONCACAF zone with the second-most trips to the tournament – behind only Mexico.