CHICAGO – It might have taken a while for the national team to make it back to the biggest soccer tournament in the world, but at least they were able to earn at least one extra game in Qatar this December.
With a 1-0-2 record in Group B, the United States men’s national team advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup. They’ll face the Netherlands in the Round of 16 at 9 AM central time on Saturday as the young group of players takes the pitch for their biggest game of the tournament so far.
So how has the USMNT fared when they’ve made it to the knockout round?
How Many Times They’ve Made It
With their victory over Iran on Tuesday, the United States qualified for the knockout stage for the seventh time in history.
They’ve qualified for the single-elimination portion of the tournament in:
Winning Has Been Difficult
During those previous six appearances, the team struggled to get past the first elimination game, losing in five of them.
- 1930 – Semifinals – Lost to Argentina 6-1 – The United States was a semifinalist since only four teams made the knockout round
- 1934 – Round of 16 – Lost to Italy 7-1 – In this tournament, there was no traditional group stage as 16 teams qualified in their own matches against teams in their regions, with only the 16-team knockout stage being considered the official World Cup tournament.
- 1994 – Round of 16 – Lost to Brazil 1-0 – In the only tournament so far hosted in the United States, the national team lost to eventual champion Brazil at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.
- 2010 – Round of 16 – Lost to Ghana 2-1 – Deadlocked at one in regulation, Ghana got an early score in extra time to eliminate the USMNT in Rustenburg, South Africa.
- 2014 – Round of 16 – Lost to Belgium 2-1 – Like their 2010 match, the US forced extra time against Belgium thanks to a great performance by goalkeeper Tim Howard. But Belgium broke through with a pair of goals in extra time and the USMNT could only get one back, leading to their elimination.
The One Victory In The Knockout Stage
The one time the USMNT was able to win a knockout round game in the World Cup was on June 17, 2002 in Jeonju, South Korea against Mexico.
Brian McBride scored in the eighth minute and Landon Donovan added another in the 65th to give the United States a 2-0 win to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals. It came after the team went 1-1-1 in group play, making up for a poor showing at the 1998 World Cu;p in France, where the USMNT lost all three matches.
Eventual runner-up Germany would eliminate the United States in a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals.