A Run Through the 8 Wins at the World Cup for the USMNT Since 1930
The United States men’s national team will be back in attendance at the World Cup this winter with it looking to build on its commendable efforts from the 2014 edition in Brazil.
The USMNT won one game, drew another and lost two games eight years ago, and ahead of it, looking to win its ninth game at the World Cup, we run through the eight victories to date on the world’s biggest soccer stage.
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USMNT 3-0 Belgium, 1930
In the very first edition of the FIFA World Cup, the USMNT reached the semifinals. Things were slightly different then, with not as many nations competing in the tournament.
The groups involved just three teams as opposed to the four we get now, and progression out of the group put a team straight into the semis.
The USMNT got off to a flying start when it defeated Belgium 3-0. Bartholomew McGhee, Thomas Florie and Bertrand Patenaude scored America’s goals. All three were eventually inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.
USMNT 3-0 Paraguay, 1930
At the same tournament, the United States met with Paraguay in Group 4 down in Uruguay.
Patenaude was the man who stole the show, as he put himself straight into the history books of the World Cup by becoming the first player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup finals.
Only 51 have been scored since in more than 800 matches at the World Cup, and Patenaude was the first to do so.
USMNT 1-0 England, 1950
Twenty years would pass after the USMNT beat Paraguay and Belgium before it got another win. And it was a big one, defeating the giants of global soccer, England, in 1950.
Just as it is today, England was one of the leading nations and by registering a 1-0 victory, the USMNT put on record its third World Cup win and one of its most famous victories ever, as Joseph Gaetjens scored the game’s only goal.
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USMNT 2-1 Colombia, 1994
After a grueling 20 years of waiting for win No. 3, the Stars and Stripes had even longer to wait after defeating England.
It would be 44 years before the Americans beat Colombia. But, this win was special because it came on home soil.
The United States hosted the 1994 World Cup and played one game in Pontiac, Mich. and two in Pasadena, Calif. This victory over Colombia came at the Rose Bowl, with the current sporting director of the United States Soccer Federation, Earnest Stewart, scoring for the USMNT.
Andrés Escobar infamously scored an own goal that day to hand the USMNT the win. Escobar was shot and killed by drug cartel bodyguard Humberto Castro Muñoz just days later, stunning the soccer world to its core.
USMNT 3-2 Portugal, 2002
In what was arguably the most famous of the eight wins at the World Cup, the USMNT defeated Portugal in South Korea at a time when the Portuguese had some of the world’s greatest talents.
The victory for the United States came just two years before Portugal reached the European Championship final in 2004.
John O’Brien scored after four minutes for the USMNT that day, before an own goal from Jorge Costa and a goal from Brian McBride gave it a 3-0 lead before halftime. Portugal would get two goals back, and it looked like it would manage to get at least a draw with momentum swinging in its favor.
The game finished 3-2, however, and it remains perhaps the country’s best result in the 92-year history of the World Cup.
USMNT 2-0 Mexico, 2002
While the magnitude of defeating a giant like Portugal is greater than beating a less threatening side like Mexico, for the USMNT, defeating its North American rivals is as sweet as it gets.
What was so great about this result was how it was the USMNT’s first victory in the knockout rounds of a World Cup after losing its previous three attempts in 1930, 1934, and 1994.
McBride was once again the hero that day with a goal, but the headlines were stolen by a 20-year-old Landon Donovan, as he scored the second.
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USMNT 1-0 Algeria, 2010
In a group containing England, Slovenia and Algeria in 2010, there was as good of a chance as ever for the USMNT to advance into the knockout rounds. Donovan was the hero again for his country, as he registered the fourth of his five goals scored at the World Cup in the 1-0 win over Algeria.
The Americans finished at the top of their group above England and avoided Germany in the knockout rounds because of this win.
USMNT 2-1 Ghana, 2014
Four years passed between wins for the USMNT, with it defeating Ghana during its heroic effort at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It was billed as the biggest World Cup of the modern era because of the competition and how the tournament was back in Brazil, the spiritual home of soccer.
The USMNT also had an incredibly tough group to deal with in this one in Germany — the eventual winners— and a Portugal team led by superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Early on, Ghana was the target for all three points for the USMNT, and it was also a monumental occasion because of how Ghana defeated the Americans in the round of 16 just four years before.
Clint Dempsey scored in the first minute of action, before Andre Ayew equalized for the African team. John Brooks then fired in an effort from outside the area with four minutes left to play, as he made the difference in registering the USMNT’s eighth victory at the World Cup.
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