The USMNT captured the hearts of a nation on Tuesday, as they secured qualification to the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran. USA don’t have the best record in the World Cup knockouts, but could this year be the year they go better than ever before?
ROUND OF SIXTEEN 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/DqWp5S7gvR
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 29, 2022
With the USMNT qualifying for the round of 16 for the first time since the 2014 world cup, we take a look at how far the side have made it in previous tournaments, including their best finishes!
USMNT Best World Cup Finishes
1994, 2010, 2014 – Round of 16
The USA have only made the knockout rounds of a World Cup on six occasions (including this year) and the side have failed to make it past the last 16 on three of those occasions – 1994, 2010 and 2014.
The 1994 World Cup was a big one for USA, as they made it out of the groups and into the round of 16 for the first time in 64 years, it was slightly unlucky then that they would receive the worst possible draw in the first knockout round as they were faced with the challenge of Brazil.
The South American’s proved too much to handle for USA sadly, who were eliminated by the eventual champions thanks to a 1-0 win courtesy of Bebeto.
USA didn’t reach the knockout’s again for another 16 years after 1994, until they finally managed to break through at the South Africa tournament in 2010. The side cruised through the groups in first place however the round of 16 proved to be one stage too far yet again for the USA, who fell short to Ghana in extra time thanks to an Asamoah Gyan winner.
Brazil 2014 was full of surprises from the USA, as they qualified from the groups in second place ahead of both Portugal and Ghana. It was Belgium who knocked out the side in 2014, with a young Kevin De Bruyne starring in a there goal extra time thriller which Belgium came out on top 2-1 in.
2002 – Quarterfinals
The USA have only made the quarters twice in their history and the first came at the 2002 edition hosted in both Japan and South Korea. The USMNT qualified to the last 16 yet again at the expense of Portugal, as they qualified in second place earning them an all south American tie in the next round with Mexico.
Mexico proved to be an easy opponent for USA, who comfortably beat their neighbouring country 2-0 thanks to goals from both Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. Germany were the USMNT’s opponents in the quarters and the eventual tournament runners up proved to be too strong for the USA, who were eliminated after a 1-0 loss with Michael Ballack scoring the only goal of the game.
1930 – Semifinals
The furthest the USA have ever made it in the World Cup came during the first ever edition at the tournament, as their best performance saw the side get knocked out in the 1930 semi finals. The first World cup was held in Uruguay and the USA made light work of all their opposition until it came to the Semi’s where they faced Argentina.
The semi final was a humbling experience for USA, as they suffered a hefty 6-1 defeat to Argentina who were the eventual runners up at the tournament.
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