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The United States’ Best World Cup Moment

After missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the United States have qualified for World cup soccer 2022. The team has gone through a total retooling, bringing in youth and talent into the side.

The Americans’’ best performance in World Cup odds was in the very first one in 1930, finishing third, but they only qualified twice more until becoming a regular in 1990. That best showing could be considered the best moment. On the other hand, it was so long ago and well before the World Cup was as big as it is now, featuring just 13 teams.

US players
US players | Jose jordan /afp

2-0 vs Mexico in 2002

The 2002 World Cup was a special tournament for the United States national team. The team made its deepest run in the tournament since 1930, making it to the quarterfinals.

In the group stages, the Stars and Stripes came in second with four points but had a goal differential of -1. They went on to face rivals Mexico in the round of 16, winning 2-0. Brian McBride scored early, in the eighth minute, and young star Landon Donovan sealed the win in the 65th minute.

They lost in the next round against Germany, who went on to be the runner-up in the tournament. However, the magical run to the quarterfinals is only made more special by advancing over a rival.

Two Big Group Stage Wins

Beating Mexico in 2002 was just a midway point between 1994 and 2010 – two other World Cups that led to a rising interest in soccer within the country.

It started in 1994 when the United States hosted the World Cup. They would make it out of the group stage, coming in third with four points. The Americans lost to eventual champion Brazil in the round of 16 but was the farthest they had gone in the tournament since 1936.

A 2-1 win over Colombia would solidify Team USA as a legit competitor, as the host country defeated one of the top teams in the world, which many saw as the favorites. An own goal by Andrés Escobar, which led to his murder, started the scoring for the United States. Earnie Stewart sealed the win with his goal in the 52nd minute.

In 2010, soccer officially started to be seen in a different light when Donovan scored in stoppage time against Algeria. The match, and its subsequent historic goal, was watched nationwide, sending many fans in the country into a frenzy.

The Stars and Stripes had drawn in the first two games, and if they didn’t beat Algeria, their tournament was over. Donovan’s goal started a movement that increased excitement for the sport throughout the country that has now started to embrace it.

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Getting a New Moment Before 2026

We may now be in the midst of the golden generation of soccer in the United States, mainly due to the three big moments of the 1994, 2002, and 2010 World Cup. Missing out on 2018 was a step backward for the national team, but has made the 2022 world cup that much more special.

The Americans have been drawn into a tough group with England, Wales, and Iran. However, with the World Cup being played in North America in 2026, the young squad will look to gain experience, and possibly create a new top moment, to build momentum.


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